Image courtesy of MADD's Report to the Nation 2015

Image courtesy of MADD’s Report to the Nation 2015

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), has praised Colorado in its new 2015 report, “MADD Report to the Nation 2015.” It writes: “MADD applauds Colorado on its continued efforts to keep the roads safe and protect the public from drunk drivers.”

The organization has also announced in a press release that for the first time, it has formally added prevention of drugged driving to its mission statement.

The group’s mission statement now reads: “MADD’s mission is to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking.” Founded 35 years ago, MADD has also introduced its first-ever tagline, “NO MORE VICTIMS™.”

MADD’s new report rates every U.S. state and the District of Columbia on how well they are doing to stop drunk driving deaths, as Lori Grisham writes for USA Today Network. The report is the most recent publication from MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, a collaboration with legislators and law enforcement departments that first began in 2006, Grisham writes.

MADD Report to the Nation 2015 looks at five types of measures that states can take to prevent drunk driving deaths, and gives states one star for each category they fulfill, as Grisham writes. Those measures include:

  • Ignition Interlock Laws: Ignition interlocks are devices installed into the vehicles of DUI offenders. They prevent the car from starting unless they determine that the driver is legally sober by testing the driver’s breath. MADD supports laws that require an interlock for six months for first time offenders and longer for repeat offenders, Grisham writes.
  • Sobriety Checkpoints: MADD says that random checkpoints screening drivers for intoxication, plus ignition interlock laws are the best way to protect the public from drunk drivers, Grisham writes. Checkpoints are legal in 38 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Administrative License Revocation: These are laws that allow arresting officers to remove an offender’s license immediately.
  • Child Endangerment Laws: The District of Columbia and 46 states have laws that make driving under the influence with a child in the vehicle a form of child abuse, Grisham writes. States have different versions of such laws, and MADD views New York State’s child endangerment law as exemplary.
  • No Refusal: This is a program that allows law enforcement officers to get an expedited warrant to test a suspected drunk driver who has refused to take a blood alcohol test, Grisham writes. MADD awards a star to those states that make prosecutors and judges available “to streamline the process,” Grisham writes.

The 2015 report gives Colorado five stars, one for each category — one of only 13 states with such a distinction, Grisham writes — and says the following about Colorado:

Colorado has been successful in reducing drunk driving fatalities. The state highly incentivizes the use of ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers by allowing a shorter license suspension period for those who elect to go on an interlock immediately following a drunk driving conviction. Due in part to the state’s all-offender interlock law, drunk driving deaths have dropped by 19 percent.

Colorado is also mentioned in the report’s section about federal grants for states with interlock laws. MADD urged Congress to create an ignition interlock incentive grant program as part of the 2012 federal highway authorization bill known as MAP-21, the report says. The program provides $20 million for states that pass legislation requiring interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers and lists Colorado as having been given a $343,608.58 Federal Interlock Incentive Grant. “Unfortunately,” the report says, “not all states have passed this legislation and are not receiving federal safety dollars that could help improve traffic safety.”

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