MADD Ranks All 50 States’ Drunk Driving Laws
Since 2006, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has rated each state’s drunk driving laws. In doing so, the organization looks at the following five categories:
- The use of DUI checkpoints
- The immediate revocation of driving privileges after a DUI arrest
- Additional penalties for having child passengers
- Expedited warrants for refusing a breathalyzer test
- Required ignition interlock devices or car breathalyzers after the first DUI
MADD recently released their 2019 report. We take a look at the results below.
DUI checkpoints, also called sobriety checkpoints, are often conducted during holidays such as Memorial Weekend or New Year’s Eve. Checkpoints are effective because they get impaired drivers off the road.
Some checkpoints are widely advertised beforehand. When DUI checkpoints are publicized, people are encouraged to make other arrangements, like choosing a designated driver ahead of time.
- Currently, 37 states conduct sobriety checkpoints at some point throughout the year.
- 32 states conduct checkpoints each month.
Immediate Revocation of Driving Privileges
MADD believes that a person’s driver’s license should be revoked immediately after a DUI arrest or the refusal of a breathalyzer test. MADD also advocates for the use of an interlock ignition device until the driver has their trial.
- Currently, 41 states revoke a person’s license after a DUI arrest.
- Twenty six states allow driving privileges during the revocation period if an interlock ignition device is in place.
Additional Penalties for Having Child Passengers
MADD takes a tough stance on driving under the influence with child passengers, calling it “a form of child abuse.”
- 48 states have additional penalties for drivers who are arrested for DUIs with a child in the car.
- 7 states treat a DUI with a child passenger as a felony.
Expedited Warrants for Breathalyzer Refusal
Drivers must remember that driving is a privilege, not a right. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), all 50 states have implied consent laws. These laws state that in exchange for having driving privileges, you agree to a blood alcohol test. According to MADD’s report, 20 percent of suspected drunk drivers refuse testing.
- Currently, 34 states are able to obtain expedited warrants for an alcohol test when a driver refuses testing.
- In addition, 33 states either criminalize refusals or require an ignition interlock device just for refusing.
Ignition Interlock Devices/Car Breathalyzers
MADD recognizes the effectiveness of ignition interlock devices, calling them “the best proven countermeasure available to stop drunk driving today.” These devices are sometimes called car breathalyzers because they test the driver’s BAC level before the car is able to start.
States that enacted ignition interlock device laws have seen significant declines in drunk driving deaths. For example, MADD reported that drunk driving deaths have decreased by 60 percent in West Virginia since the state passed ignition interlock laws.
- Currently 34 states require an ignition interlock device to be installed after the first DUI.
You can find your state’s ignition interlock device laws on this map.
How All 50 States Ranked
MADD awarded each state either a half a star, one star, or no star for each of the five criteria.
- States ranked anywhere from 0.5 to 5.0. The average ranking was 3.16.
- Arizona was the only state with a perfect 5.0.
- The state with the lowest ranking was Montana. The 0.5 rating was for having additional penalties for child passengers.
Each state’s ranking can be seen on this map.
Ignition Interlock Device Laws
At Draeger Interlock, we’re supportive of MADD’s efforts to keep the roads safer. Drunk driving laws are strict for a reason. Drunk driving is preventable and our ignition interlock devices keep impaired drivers off the road. For more information about interlock devices, please contact us.
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