Four States Fight Drunk Driving More Aggressively
Screen shot of ignition interlock device courtesy of Intoxalock via YouTube.
Four states — Arizona, Maryland, Mississippi, and West Virginia — are taking more legislative measures than others to end drunk driving, according to a new report from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
In the report, states are awarded stars in different categories related to the implementation of drunk driving laws and other proven countermeasures. A perfect score is five stars. Arizona, Maryland, Mississippi, and West Virginia earned overall scores of 4.5 stars. The lowest-scoring states were Montana (0.5 star) and Michigan (one star).
MADD’s judging criteria include whether the state is conducting sobriety checkpoints, requiring ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenders, creating tougher penalties for those who drive drunk with children in the vehicle, participating in “no refusal” activities for drunk driving suspects, and using administrative license revocation for drunk driving offenders.
The holiday season marks a particularly deadly period of drunk driving crashes. In 2015, 973 people were killed in drunk driving crashes between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day — nearly 10% of all drunk driving crashes for the year. On the day before and day of Thanksgiving and Christmas, 33% to 39% of all traffic fatalities were caused by drunk driving, according to federal statistics.
The MADD report “serves as a reminder that every state can do more to eliminate the tragedies caused by drunk driving, and every individual can do his or her part by always planning for a non-drinking driver to get them home safely,” said MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church.
The report also highlights progress made in 2016. Washington D.C., Vermont, Maryland, and Rhode Island each passed all-offender ignition interlock laws. Pennsylvania passed legislation requiring ignition interlocks for first-time offenders with a .10 BAC and above.
Additionally, California passed a law that adds incentives to first-time offenders to choose an interlock and that requires an interlock for repeat offenders. Since Georgia also enacted a first-time offender interlock law, only Massachusetts and Idaho are states that still don’t use interlocks for first-time offenders.
To download the report, click here.