Changes that "close the loophole" in Minnesota's Driving While Impaired Law are set for enforcement as of August 1.  From this point forward, persons who are convicted of a DWI while driving a car will also loose their ability to use an ATV, boat,  or snowmobile. Prior to this, a roadway DWI charge didn't cross over to so-called off-road vehicles.

The bill that created the change is called "Little Alan's Law" - named after 8-year old Alan Geisenkoetter Jr., who was killed this past January when he was struck by a snowmobile that was being driven by a person who had lost their drivers license to a DWI; the way that the law read when  the accident happened made it legal for him to be behind the controls of the snowmobile.

Authorities behind the bill say that the new law makes DWI enforcement more consistent in that the same rule of law is applied to all moving vehicles. Colonel Rodmen Smith - the Director of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division - says:

We have zero tolerance for people who endanger themselves and other people by operating a motor vehicle or recreational vehicle while they’re intoxicated.  This new law should send the message that drinking and driving – no matter what the vehicle – isn’t acceptable and the consequences are severe.

A variety of outdoor organizations - along with the DNR - supported the change which was signed into law by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton.


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