DUIs are on the rise at the University of Minnesota after being on the decrease for a number of years. However, University police say it is not necessarily due to an increase in drunken driving. What they say it means is that they are starting to catch drunk drivers more often.
From 2002 to 2006, the campus averaged 187 DUIs per year. However, last year there were only 40, which was a number already surpassed by July 2010. But police officials say that the reason for the decline was due to fewer resources resulting in less police enforcement.
They also state that the validity of alcohol detection equipment being challenged in court was a reason for the decline.
The Intoxilyzer 5000 was the main instrument used by police throughout Minnesota to detect alcohol on a driver’s breath. The device had been used for 15 years, but defense attorneys have consistently challenged the accuracy of the device consistently since 2006.
One of the issues with the Intoxilyzer 5000 was no access to its software. This resulted in disputes in a total of 4,000 DUI cases. The results were questioned so much due to nondisclosure of the software and other details that could have affected accuracy that all precincts were ordered to replace it.
Now, University police are using the DataMaster, just like other Minnesota departments. This has led to an increase in DUI arrests on campus. Police have said the legal issues that surrounded the Intoxilyzer made the arrests of individuals suspected of driving while intoxicated much more complicated. Because there was only so much time in the night to catch drunk drivers, a lot of that time was spent taking suspects to the hospital for urine and blood tests.
Campus police are glad they have an up-to-date tool to test drivers for alcohol. Even students are expressing relief that a new device is being used to catch drunken drivers.
Students, especially those who ride bikes on campus at night, said they were relieved to hear University police have a reliable method to catch drunken drivers. Students, however, state that they are still going to be careful of drunken drivers on and around campus, especially those that are riding their bicycles at night. In fact, some bicyclists state that they avoid certain areas around campus because of the danger of drunken drivers.
Been Caught Drunk-Driving?
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