-- New Data Cites $132 Billion Annual Cost of Drunk Driving in America --
WASHINGTON, Nov. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In connection with the fifth anniversary of its Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is unveiling a Report to the Nation, which rates each state on its progress toward eliminating drunk driving. Based on an average of these state ratings, the nation received a three-star rating on a five-star scale. Also included in the report are updated figures showing that drunk driving costs the United States more than $132 billion annually, according to data compiled by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE).
"While we've made substantial progress with the Campaign over the past five years, the ratings earned by each state show that there is still much work to be done," said MADD National President Jan Withers. "During this time of year, when drunk driving crashes are most prevalent, we are reminded that the goal of the Campaign is to have no more drunk driving victims. MADD calls on the nation to rededicate itself to efforts to save lives, prevent injuries and eliminate this primary threat on our nation's roadways."
The states earning a five-star rating include Arizona, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska and Utah, while Montana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and South Dakota each earned one star. These ratings are an indication of states passing effective laws and employing effective drunk driving countermeasures, and are independent of a state's fatality numbers.
Each state's rating was determined by adoption of the following proven drunk driving countermeasures:
1) Requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers
2) Conducting sobriety checkpoints
3) Creating enhanced penalties for those who drive drunk with children in the vehicle
4) Participating in "no-refusal" activities for those suspected of drunk driving
5) Utilizing Administrative License Revocation for drunk driving offenders
"MADD urges states to adopt these important laws and countermeasures to save lives and support the Campaign," Withers said. "The Campaign's founding components include: high-visibility law enforcement such as sobriety checkpoints, ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, and advanced and seamless in-vehicle technology to stop drunk drivers from getting on the road."
"While we have made great strides over the last 30 years, drunk driving is still the deadliest epidemic on America's roads, killing approximately 11,000 people every year," added U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "That's why the U.S. Department of Transportation is so committed to working with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to save lives by promoting strong anti-drunk driving laws, enforcement strategies and public awareness efforts."
The Report to the Nation also outlines the $132 billion annual cost of drunk driving in America, which consists of monetary and quality-of-life costs to victims of drunk driving, along with costs to both the government and employers. This includes $61 billion in monetary costs and $71 billion in quality-of-life losses stemming from all drunk driving crashes. The federal government paid $4.5 billion of this bill, while state and local governments paid $3.2 billion. Employers paid $10.7 billion, including $3.7 billion related to crashes involving work trips and $7 billion due to crashes outside of work involving employees and benefit-eligible dependents.
Since MADD's Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving was launched in 2006, there has been substantial progress on its three components:
- Increased attention for high-visibility law enforcement efforts, such as sobriety checkpoints, along with support for national awareness campaigns, such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over."
- A change in the national conversation about ignition interlocks, with more than double the number of interlocks in use now than in 2006. In addition, the number of states requiring ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenders has increased from one to 15 and the number of states requiring interlocks for some type of first-time offender has increased from four to 32.
- The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) program has recently announced the beginning of Phase II in the ambitious research effort to develop an inexpensive, unobtrusive, reliable and hassle-free technology that will make a vehicle inoperable by a drunk driver (.08 blood alcohol concentration, or greater). This phase of the program is expected to produce a drivable test vehicle in two years, with a goal of having the technology available for voluntary installation in production vehicles in eight to 10 years.
"Today, there is no longer a debate on the effectiveness of ignition interlocks — we've seen the lifesaving results — and every state should require these devices for all convicted drunk drivers. Along with broad support for high-visibility law enforcement and the DADSS program, the nation is truly on a path toward the elimination of drunk driving," concluded Withers.
To view MADD's Report to the Nation, which is sponsored by Nationwide Insurance and State Farm Insurance, visit www.madd.org/reporttothenation. MADD is the sole author of the report, which is based on 31 years of experience working on lifesaving legislation, along with data from various respected government, research and public safety organization sources.
For more information about MADD's Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, visit www.madd.org/campaign.
About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation's largest nonprofit working to protect families from drunk driving and underage drinking. With the help of those who want a safer future, MADD's Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® will end this danger on America's roads. PowerTalk 21™ is the national day for parents to talk with their kids about alcohol, using the proven strategies of Power of Parents, It's Your Influence™ to reduce the risk of underage drinking. And as one of the largest victim services organizations in the U.S., MADD also supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every nine minutes through local MADD victim advocates and at 1-877-MADD-HELP. Learn more at www.madd.org or by calling 1-877-ASK-MADD.
SOURCE Mothers Against Drunk Driving