As law enforcement agencies seek to crack down on drivers under the influence of alcohol, fines and penalties associated with these crimes continue to increase. License suspensions and jail sentences are also potential repercussions, but the most common way drivers convicted of a DWI in…
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has issued its annual “Report to the Nation” for 2015. The report contains an interesting rundown of legislation among the states (and the District of Columbia) detailing legislation and enforcement activities that MADD says will help to reduce the number of fatalities caused by drunk drivers.
The study uses as a benchmark five different categories to rate the states’ performance. They are:
- Sobriety checkpoints. These are random checkpoints that include screenings for driving while intoxicated. The checkpoints are legal in about three quarters of the states, along with D.C.
- License revocation. In some states, the law permits an officer, after arresting a suspect for DWI or DUI, to confiscate the suspect’s license on the spot.
- Ignition interlock devices (IID). Along with sobriety checkpoints, MADD views IID’s as one of the most effective measures to prevent drunk driving fatalities. An IID is a device that measures a driver’s blood alcohol level (BAC) by taking a breath sample. If the sample registers in excess of a pre-programmed BAC, the vehicle will not start. MADD says it is particularly interested in legislation that provides for mandatory IID’s even for a first drunk driving offense.
- Child endangerment laws. More than 90% of the states have laws on their books that make driving while intoxicated with a child passenger in the vehicle one form or another of child abuse.
- “No refusal” programs. Under these programs, some states have prosecutors and judges readily available on short notice to provide warrants to obtain a BAC test to a suspected drunk driving suspect who has refused to take one voluntarily.
So how did New York fare among the states, according to MADD? Well, not badly at all. The Empire State collected four out a possible five stars, and we ranked better than the surrounding states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut. In addition, the organization considers New York’s Leandra’s Law, which (among other things) makes it a felony to drive drunk with a child under the age of 15 in your vehicle, to be a model piece of legislation.
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