New DUI laws not harsh enough to one victimFargo, ND (WDAY TV) - You might want to think twice about getting behind the wheel drunk. New DUI penalties are about to get a whole lot tougher beginning Monday.
By: Andrea Hubbell, WDAY
Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - You might want to think twice about getting behind the wheel drunk. New DUI penalties are about to get a whole lot tougher beginning Monday.
But for one man, who nearly died after a head on collision with an impaired driver, he says these new laws might not be tough enough.
Just this year 25 people have been killed out on North Dakota roads because of alcohol. Before that 87 died in 2012. These new laws aim to dramatically reduce those numbers. The big question is will they?
Vince Ulstad, Hit by Drunk Driver: "I'm apparently lying down someplace, everything is pitch black. I'm hearing voices come out of the blackness. What's going on?"
It was four years ago, this month. Vince Ulstad woke up after a five week coma.
Vince Ulstad: "I struggled with a lot of negative emotions."
His life dramatically turned around after a long trip home, when a drunk driver hit him head on, smashing his pelvis in eight places and permanently blinding him.
Vince Ulstad: "Certainly a lot of anger, bitterness, depression."
The impaired driver hit his ultimate consequence. He died on impact. But for those who live consequences are about to get a lot tougher.
Vince Ulstad: "It's probably not as big of a step as I would have liked to have seen taken."
By Monday anyone who kills another person because of drunk driving can be charges with an A-Felony offense. First time offenders will face stiff fines. Repeats could look at mandatory jail sentences.
Roland Ulstad, Vince's Father: "It's really been hard on my wife and myself."
For the Ulstad Family, this major change seems minor.
Roland Ulstad: "If more people could see the result of it, like Vince, I don't know if it'd make a difference or not."
Vince Ulstad says the crash altered his life forever.
Vince Ulstad: "Being able to enjoy all of the things in life that I have in terms of family and friends and the outdoors."
But he's turning his misfortune into a message.
Vince Ulstad: "How do we influence people to take full responsibility for their own behavior and their own decisions?"
These new laws take effect just in time for a big holiday weekend. So make sure to find a designated driver.