MADD lowers grade on efforts by Missouri, Illinois to prevent drunk driving

Missouri and Illinois slipped in how Mothers Against Drunk Driving ranked both states’ efforts to prevent drunk driving.

MADD recently released its annual overview ranking each state’s progress in stopping drunken driving. There are five areas to judge and rank each state. They include the following:

1) How sobriety checkpoints are conducted;

2) The degree of punishments for putting children in danger;

3) Whether or not ignition interlocks are required, which is a machine that prevents a car from starting if a driver’s blood-alcohol level exceeds a certain limit;

4) Whether drivers licenses are revoked; and

5) The degree of punishment for refusing a blood-alcohol test.

It was just last year that Missouri and Illinois received the highest rating of five stars. This was the first year that a new half-star ranking was used in order to provide a more nuanced analysis of each category.  This year both Missouri and Illinois dropped a half star to four stars.

Each state slipped because of how it handled license suspensions, with Missouri for its blood-test refusals and Illinois for its punishments related to child endangerment.

Missouri does not have a statewide “no-refusal” law that requires police to obtain a warrant to draw blood from suspected drunk drivers who have refused to take a breath test. There are counties, such as St. Louis County since 2013, that do this on their own.  However, other counties have not chosen to do so.

Missouri does have an implied consent law that mandates that a driver who refuses to be tested will lose their driving privileges for one year.  The number of refusals have been dropping in Missouri.

Some 973 people nationwide were killed nationwide in drunken driving crashes.  These deaths occurred between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, amounting to almost 10 percent of all drunk driving accidents. MADD contends that almost a third of traffic deaths on the day before Thanksgiving Day and Christmas involved drunk driving.


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