In response to the thousands of individuals who have lost their lives or loved ones due to drunk driving accidents each year, MADD has launched an annual report to deliver an assessment of each US state and examine the initiatives taken to protect people from drunk driving.
The Reality of Drinking and Driving
Since MADD’s founding in 1980, drunk driving has declined by more than 50%, all states have made it illegal for adults to drive with a blood alcohol concentration above 0.8% and 30 states, over half of the country, is currently covered by all offender ignition interlock laws.However, with more than 10,000 people still losing their lives each year and with states such as Montana barely taking any initiatives to reduce drunk driving incidents, drunk driving remains the leading killer on roads in the United States. MADDs report captures that we still have a long way to go before drunk driving is completely eliminated.
The Proven Efficiency of Ignition Interlocks
MADD believes that combined with law enforcement efforts, ignition interlocks are one of the best-proven countermeasures to stop drunk driving. These devices act as in-car breathalyzers that stop a vehicle from starting if the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeds a preset limit.
While every US state enforces ignition interlock laws, part of MADD’s initiatives to end drunk driving on the roads is to push for laws that require all offenders to install ignition interlock devices from their first offence. MADD states that having laws that enforce ignition interlocks on all convicted drunk drivers is essential as these devices have been proven to remove drunk drivers from the road and reduce repeat DUI offenses by 67%. According to MADD, if ignition interlocks were adopted nationwide an estimated 1,000 additional lives could be saved each year.
Since West Virginia has required all offenders to use interlocks in 2008 drunk driving fatalities have decreased by more than 52%. Drunk driving fatalities in Arizona have also dropped 41 percent since 2007, and other states such as Mississippi and Louisiana have experienced reductions of 28 to 39 percent since adopting ignition interlock laws, capturing the life saving benefits of these devices.
MADDs mission is to have zero drunk driving accidents on the roads and if states do their part and take the necessary steps needed and improve their drunk driving initiatives, this will not be an unrealistic goal for the future.
To view the full report click here.
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