MADD Gives Washington State 3 Stars For Drunk Driving Laws

To commemorate the fifth anniversary of its Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has issued a report which gives states a report card on progress toward eliminating drunk driving. Washington State was awarded three stars for its efforts. But there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Washington State has the most comprehensive ignition interlock law in the nation but could take additional steps to help save more lives. The state needs a better child endangerment law, legalization of sobriety checkpoints and utilization of no-refusal activities to further crack down on drunk driving.

Requiring Ignition Interlocks for all Drunk Driving Offenders - In 2009, an all offender interlock law went into effect in Washington State. In 2010, the Legislature made improvements to their comprehensive interlock law. More than 15 peer-reviewed studies recommend requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted DUI offenders. This year the CDC recommended every state pass an all-offender ignition interlock law.  Washington State gets a star.

Enhancing Penalties for DUI Child Endangerment (Driving Drunk with Children in your Car) - DUI child endangerment is an issue everyone should agree on. Enhanced penalties such as making it a crime for an adult to drive drunk with a child or children in the car.  Washington State needs more harsh penalties for child endangerment.  Washington State gets a star.

Utilizing Administrative License Revocation (ALR) - ALR involves the immediate confiscation of an offender's driver's license by the arresting officer. Studies show that ALR reduces DUI fatalities by as much as nine percent.  Washington State gets a star.

Participating in No-refusal Events
- Offenders who refuse to submit to a BAC testing present a significant challenge to law enforcement and the courts. Driving is a privilege, not a right. No-refusal stars are given to stats with a 10 percent or lower refusal rating or for those stats that participate in no-refusal or warrant initiatives.  Washington State needs to do more.

Conducting Sobriety Checkpoints
- Sobriety checkpoints are proven to reduce DUI fatalities by an average of 20 percent by acting as a general deterent to drinking and driving. They are also cost-effective, reducing drunk driving expenses by at least six dollars for every dollar invested. Washington State needs sobriety checkpoints.

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