Mothers Against Drunk Driving recently published a report that rates all 50 states’ efforts to end drunk driving fatalities and keep the public safe on the roads. MADD’s report uses a “five-star system to rate the states and encourage the adoption of proven countermeasures.”
The report is part of MADD’s Campaign To Eliminate Drunk Driving that it launched in 2006. The campaign is focused “on effective countermeasures already in place today, laws we can pass tomorrow, and future technologies to make cars safer.” MADD’s report is one part of its campaign that draws national attention to drunk driving and ways to eliminate drunk driving in America.
Five-Star Ranking System
To rate each state, MADD used five measures, include ignition interlocks, sobriety checkpoints, administrative license revocation, child endangerment, and no-refusal events. Each category was weighted evenly, and a state received a star for each measure fulfilled.
MADD describes alcohol ignition interlock devices as “the best proven countermeasure available to stop drunk driving.” According to figures, around 50% to 75% of convicted drunk drivers will drive even if their driver’s license has been suspended. A technology is also being developed, the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, which will be able to accurately detect when a driver is intoxicated with a BAC above the legal limit and will be able to prevent the car from moving.
Through sobriety checkpoints, MADD estimates that drunk driving fatalities are reduced by 20% and are effective at reducing drinking and driving. Finally, MADD believes that it is important to hold drivers accountable for their actions. One method is by imposing increased penalties for a drunk driving conviction with a child passenger in the vehicle. Another method is for states to develop a program whereby prosecutors and judges make themselves available to facilitate the warrant process in the event a driver refuses to submit to a blood or breath test.
Texas Receives Three-Star Rating from MADD
In MADD’s s report, Texas received only three stars for the state’s efforts to reduce fatalities and injuries caused by drunk driving. Texas received stars for the categories of administrative license revocation, child endangerment, and no-refusal events. Texas did not receive stars for its efforts to reduce drunk driving by instituting ignition interlocks or employing sobriety checkpoints. MADD commented that for Texas’s 2015 legislative session, the organization will be advocating for ignition interlocks on all convicted drunk drivers.
The states that received the fewest stars (one) were Rhode Island and Montana. Many states received stars in all categories, including Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.
If Texas wants to improve its record for drunk driving accidents and deaths, it appears the state still has to institute significant reform. According to MADD, Texas led the nation in 2013 with 1,337 deaths caused by drunk drivers. And, MADD has criticized the Texas legislature for failing to take any steps to reduce the number of deaths caused by drunk drivers.