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MADD Takes Harsh Position to Fight Drunk Driving

author: kprice 10:59 am EST January 8, 2012
Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Special for US Daily Review. Drunk driving remains primary threat to American family on our roadways More than 400 of 10,228 drunk driving fatalities in 2010 occurred in second half of December Data shows need for technology that makes drunk driving impossible This past week, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced new drunk driving fatality data showing that more than 400 of 10,228 drunk driving fatalities in 2010 occurred in the second half of December, showing the need for increased holiday enforcement efforts and supporting the recommendations contained in MADD's Report to the Nation released last month.  MADD also asked members of Congress to pass pending legislation that funds key DUI countermeasures as well as a research program that will ultimately turn cars into the cure for drunk driving. "The data clearly shows that while drunk driving remains the primary threat to American families on our roadways, we have a path to progress," stated Jan Withers, MADD National President.  "Increased enforcement efforts around the holidays are a vital part of MADD's Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®, which relies on proven drunk driving countermeasures to eliminate the leading cause of highway fatalities." To mark the fifth anniversary of its Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®, MADD released a Report to the Nation that rated each state on its progress toward eliminating drunk driving.  States could earn a maximum of five-stars based on their adoption of proven DUI countermeasures, including both increased holiday enforcement tactics such as sobriety checkpoints and no-refusal activities. High-visibility law enforcement tactics such as sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols, conducted around key holidays and throughout the year, remain one of the most effective tools to catch and deter drunk drivers.  Research shows that when publicized, increased enforcement reduces drunk driving fatalities by up to 20 percent. "It is important that the public knows that law enforcement will be out this holiday season looking for drunk drivers," said Withers. "If you plan on drinking, please designate a sober driver." MADD's Report also called on states to pass all-offender ignition interlock laws.  Ignition interlocks are proven effective in stopping drunk driving. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), ignition interlocks, on average, reduce drunk driving recidivism by 67 percent. The data released today supports this recommendation by showing continued decreases in Arizona and Oregon, two states that adopted all-offender interlock laws early on in the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, helping reduce drunk driving fatalities in those states by 51 and 52 percent, respectively. Additionally, California saw the largest drop of any state with 133 fewer drunk driving deaths on their roadways, which is significant given the addition of a pilot program requiring interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers in the state's four most populous counties. "The decreases in drunk driving fatalities in these states mean that we are on the right track," said Withers. "It also means that fewer families must deal with the tragedy of losing a loved one to this 100 percent preventable crime." MADD also urged Congress to move legislation currently pending in both chambers that would have a tremendous impact on the future of drunk driving reforms in this country.  The bills fund key highway safety measures, including high visibility enforcement campaigns, all-offender interlock bills and the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) program.  The DADSS program is developing an extremely accurate technology that seamlessly and passively senses if a driver is at or above the illegal limit of .08 BAC. "We are so close to the elimination of drunk driving," said Withers.  "We call on Congress to help us get to the finish line and eliminate drunk driving once and for all." To view a full copy of MADD's Report to the Nation, go to www.madd.org/reporttothenation. 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.

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