Bonnie Petrie

New Report Ranks States on Drunken Driving

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Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — In 2009, nearly 11,000 people were killed and more than 350,000 were injured nationally in crashes involving a driver with an illegal blood alcohol concentration of .08 or greater, according to the latest statistics by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

This Wednesday, MADD marks the fifth anniversary of its campaign to eliminate drunken driving with a report that rates each state on its progress in eliminating drunken driving.

The Report to the Nation finds that the nation, according to each state’s average, received an overall three-star rating on a five-star scale. States earning a five-star rating include Arizona, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska and Utah. States earning one star were Michigan, Montana, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and South Dakota.

“These ratings indicate which states have passed effective laws and employed effective drunken driving countermeasures, and are independent of a state’s fatality numbers,” a spokesperson for MADD said.

The report comes out just before the holiday season, when road travel is expected to be heavier, and drunken driving typically increases, according to a MADD spokesperson.

“Nationally in 2009, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, 879 people were killed by drunk drivers,” the MADD spokesperson said.

The report also finds that drunken driving costs in the U.S. are more than $132 billion annually, according to data compiled by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.

According to MADD, in the five years since the campaign was launched, fifteen states have instituted mandatory all-offender ignition interlock laws, up from only one state; all 50 states now have some form of ignition interlock law, up from 45; and advanced in-vehicle alcohol detection technology is no longer just a concept but is now in its second phase of development.

In addition, Arizona’s all-offender mandatory ignition interlock law — requiring that an alcohol ignition interlock be installed on the vehicles on all convicted drunken drivers — went into effect in 2007.

Since then, Arizona has seen a 46 percent reduction in drunk driving fatalities. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving calls for these types of all-offender ignition interlock laws in every state.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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