Washington, D.C. (December 23, 2019) – 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 the 2019 Report to the Nation released today by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

The Report 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 in 2006, serves as a guide for supporters, state and federal lawmakers, traffic safety partners and a roadmap to those who wish to help MADD reach its ultimate goal of No More Victims,” said MADD National President Helen Witty.

This year, MADD awarded an average national rating of 3.16 out of 5 stars. This is an increase from 2.96 in 2018 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 percent. That is why it is MADD’s No. 1 legislative priority in states and why we’re working to improve existing interlock laws,” Witty said.

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.

Only one state – Arizona – received five out of five stars in 2019. In that state, convicted drunk drivers must use an ignition interlock before obtaining unrestricted driving privileges – one of the best such laws in the nation. As a result, drunk driving deaths have fallen by nearly a third.

Additionally, Arizona requires ignition interlocks for one year for refusing a breath test, treats driving drunk with a child passenger as a felony and allows for the immediate suspension of a license (ALR) if the driver is arrested for DUI or a refusal. The only way to drive during an ALR period is with an ignition interlock. This critical tool removes the immediate threat of a drunk driver and protects the public while the driver awaits trial.

Eight other states performed well above the national average in 2019: Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Nevada, Oklahoma and West Virginia, which each received a rating of 4.5.

“MADD applauds Arizona and other states that have worked to help end the violent, 100 percent preventable crime of drunk driving through legislation proven to save lives,” said Witty, whose 16-year-old daughter Helen Marie was killed by a drunk and drugged teen driver. “Still, the Report makes clear that we have much work to do around the nation.”

Montana received the lowest rating, with just a half-star. That state has done little to improve its drunk driving laws since enacting a .08 BAC per se law in 2003. Michigan, South Dakota and Wyoming also received ratings of 1.5 stars or lower.

“For every person killed or injured by drunk driving, countless other lives are changed forever. We call on these states and others to pass laws proven to reduce these tragedies,” Witty said. “We also know that technology has the potential to eliminate drunk driving in America. That is why this year MADD supported federal legislation introduced in the House and Senate that would require passive, alcohol detection technology in all new vehicles.”

The RIDE Act was introduced in the Senate by Senators Tom Udall of New Mexico and Rick Scott of Florida. U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell of Michigan introduced the HALT Act, which is named in honor of five members of the Abbas family killed in a horrific drunk driving crash in Kentucky in January.

The 2019 Report to the Nation is dedicated to those family members: Issam and Rima Abbas and their three children, Ali, 13, Isabella, 12, and Giselle, 7.

MADD would like to thank our partner Velodyne Lidar, Inc. for sponsoring this report for the second year. 

For more information about your state, or to read the Report, visit https://online.flippingbook.com/view/361187/

About Mothers Against Drunk Driving Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD has helped to save nearly 380,000 lives, reduce drunk driving deaths by more than 50 percent and promote designating a non-drinking driver. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® calls for law enforcement support, ignition interlocks for all offenders and advanced vehicle technology. MADD has provided supportive services to nearly one million drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP. Visit www.madd.org or call 1-877-ASK-MADD.

Contact: Becky Iannotta, 202.600.2032, becky.iannotta@madd.org