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MADD Report: Montana’s Drunk-Driving Laws Are America’s Weakest

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Drinking while driving is an obvious wrong nowadays, but what is the early history of drunk driving and the laws surrounding it?

According to a MADD report, Montana has the nation’s least effective drunk-driving laws

An advocacy group’s annual report says Montana has America’s least effective drunk-driving laws.

In Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s 2018 Report to the Nation, all 50 states are rated on their efforts to combat intoxication behind the wheel. The report is part of MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, which pushes for tougher law enforcement, ignition interlock laws, advanced vehicle technology, and greater public awareness. It’s an important campaign, considering that more than 10,000 people a year die in drunk-driving crashes.

MADD’s ratings cover five categories:

  • Ignition interlocks: Does the state require the use of ignition interlocks after a first drunk-driving offense, and is compliance required for interlock removal? MADD cites studies showing that nationwide interlock laws could reduce drunk-driving deaths by 15%.
  • Sobriety checkpoints: Does the state conduct sobriety checkpoints, and if so, are they conducted at least once a month? According to MADD, these checkpoints reduce drunk-driving crashes by 20%.
  • Administrative License Revocation: Does the state suspend driver’s licenses at the time of arrest or sobriety test refusal, and does it require an interlock during suspension? MADD advocates for this because 50%-75% of drivers keep driving even after they lose their privileges.
  • Child Endangerment: Does the state impose misdemeanor or felony charges for driving drunk with a child passenger?
  • Refusals: Does the state expedite warrants or impose penalties after a driver refuses a sobriety test? This one is a priority for MADD because 20% of suspected drunk drivers refuse testing.

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early history of drunk driving

MADD rates states on their drunk-driving laws, including requirements for ignition interlocks and penalties for refusing a sobriety test

According to MADD’s criteria, the states with the most effective drunk-driving laws include Arizona, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, and West Virginia. Each has a rating of 4.5 out of a possible 5 stars.

The state with the weakest laws is Montana, with a rating of 0.5 out of 5 stars. According to MADD, Montana falls short in all five rating categories, except for imposing misdemeanor charges for child endangerment.

Other poorly rated states include Michigan, which is rated at 1 out of 5 stars, along with Idaho, Iowa, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Wyoming, which are rated at 1.5 out of 5 stars.

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News Source: Mothers Against Drunk Driving