Strengthening snowmobiles, ATVs, and boats DWI laws

Following the tragic death of an eight-year-old boy in Chisago County, struck by a drunk snowmobiler whose driver’s license had been revoked three times for DWI offenses, the Senate passed a bill this week that would make DWI offenses while operating recreational vehicles subject to the same penalties as DWI offenses committed in a motor vehicle.

Supporters of the bill say that recreational vehicle DWI laws have not been updated in over 20 years, and with the changes in recreational vehicles making them heavier, faster, and potentially more dangerous, it is time to update DWI penalties. Critics have concerns that the penalties in the bill go too far. It’s possible someone could be required to use ignition interlock on their vehicle for a DWI offense on a recreational vehicle, so the penalty might be too harsh.

The legislation passed on a vote of 59 to 7. Similar language is included in the House version of the supplemental finance bill. (SF3638)