Magazine article USA TODAY

MADD Rates States on Drunk Driving Laws

Magazine article USA TODAY

MADD Rates States on Drunk Driving Laws

Article excerpt

Arizona outperforms every state in the nation when it comes to laws that support efforts to stop drunk driving and protect the public, according to "Report to the Nation" released by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which rates all 50 states and the District of Columbia on five categories: ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenders; conducting sobriety checkpoints; administratively revoking driving privileges upon arrest for drunk driving; creating enhanced penalties for those who drive drunk with a child; and adopting penalties and expediting warrants for suspected drunk drivers who refuse an alcohol test.

'The report, the sixth since the launch of our Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, serves as a guide for supporters, state and Federal lawmakers, and traffic safety partners, as well as a roadmap to those who wish to help MADD reach its ultimate goal of No More Victims," says Helen Witty, national president.

MADD awarded an average national rating of 3.16 out of five stars. This is an increase from the previous year's 2.96, and reflects the passage of all-offender ignition interlock legislation in Kentucky and New Jersey in 2019, bringing the number of states with these laws to 34.

"States that require these in-car breathalyzers for every drunk driving offender after the first offense saw drunk driving deaths fall by 16%, which is why it is MADD's No. 1 legislative priority in states and why we're working to improve existing interlock laws," Witty stresses.

Idaho, Oklahoma, and Texas passed laws in 2019 to incentivize first-time offenders to use an interlock and require the devices as part of any plea agreement. New Mexico also saw an improvement in its rating this year by becoming the 48th state with a drunk driving child endangerment law. …

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