On August 1st, 2018, a new law went into effect in Minnesota which makes it a crime to operate a boat, ATV or snowmobile while under the influence of alcohol. Lawmakers called it “Little Alan’s Law” because a young boy named Alan lost his life when a snowmobile struck him under the control of an intoxicated man. The man in question already had his driver’s license suspended due to prior DUIs, but a loophole in the law still allowed him to drive a snowmobile.

It is just as easy for a drunk driver to cause injury or death behind the wheel of an ATV or boat as it is to do behind the wheel of a sedan. The goal of the law is to prevent additional heartache like Alan’s family members had to go through. With much more severe consequences on the table, it is paramount for all residents of Minnesota to avoid operating a vehicle of any kind after consuming alcohol.

What does the law change?

In the past, someone who had a DUI could still own and operate recreational vehicles, such as ATVs. With the new law, someone convicted of DUI would lose those privileges for a set amount of time. The length of time the person would lose those privileges would increase if the person refused to undergo testing to determine blood alcohol concentration.

Additionally, the new law will make it so that if police arrest a person for operating an ATV, boat or snowmobile while drunk, then that person will also lose his or her driver’s license even if it is the first offense. The previous law granted an exception to individuals when it was their first incident. This new law has the full support of the Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota United Snowmobile Association. People need to keep it in mind if they even think of operating any recreational vehicle after drinking alcohol.