MADD Awards Illinois 5 Star Rating For Decreasing Drunk Driving
At least that’s what Mothers Against Drunk Driving thinks.
In its fifth anniversary Report to the Nation connected to the group’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, the state of Illinois have been awarded the report’s top, 5-star rating for its efforts in reducing drunk driving.
“IDOT is very pleased with the award as the state has demonstrated it is on the right track in our fight against impaired driving,” says IDOT spokesperson Josh Kauffman. “However, we must remain committed to effective implementation of our effective strategies to continue to see fewer fatalities and injuries on our roadways. IDOT has a proven track record of safety initiatives across the state and is working diligently to continue a decrease in impaired driving statewide.”
MADD’s Report to the Nation has high praise for the state saying in the report:
“High-visibility law enforcement, combined with an ignition interlock law for all convicted drunk drivers, helped Illinois achieve a double-digit percentage decrease in drunk driving deaths. While earning one of MADD’s highest ratings in this report, more progress is needed in Illinois because of the state’s high fatality rate. MADD urges the governor to appoint a DUI coordinator to improve communication among the various state agencies involved in the adjudication process and to close loopholes in the current interlock law.”
While the report has only minor criticism of Illinois’ efforts in regards to the high number of fatalities Kauffman believes this is partially due to the state’s high population and large number of vehicles that drive on Illinois roads.
Kauffman points to substantial declines in traffic fatalities over the past decade, falling from 1414 deaths in 2001 to 927 in 2010–a 65% decline.
“The last few years in Illinois, we’ve had less than 1000 (total) fatalities–a historic record that dates back to the 1920′s,” explains Kauffman. “It shows Illinois is accomplishing a lot when it comes to traffic safety in Illinois,”
Only four other states besides Illinois received the top rank of five stars including Arizona, Kansas, Nebraska and Utah. According to MADD three stars was the nationwide state average.
Ratings were determined by how each state adopted a set of five criteria including requiring ignition interlocks for drivers convicted of a DUI, conducting sobriety checkpoints, legislating harsher penalties and fines for drivers who were DUI with children in the vehicle, using what’s called “no-refusal” sobriety tests where a judge forces a blood sobriety test for drivers suspected of being under the influence who refuse to take one, and Administrative License Revocation (ALR) where the drivers license for a motorist arrested for DUI is immediately revoked.
MADD’s Report to the Nation pegs the annual cost of drunk driving to the American economy at $132 billion. This breaks down to $61 billion in monetary costs and $71 billion in quality-of-life losses stemming from all drunk driving crashes.