MADD State Progress Report Labels Wisconsin Worst State for DUI
By: Mike Stetzer
As the holiday season approaches, it's always a good idea to take a minute to stop and form a plan of action for dealing with the added alcohol and transportation that is usually a part of the holiday schedule. From office and home Christmas parties to family gatherings, the holidays can be one of the most dangerous times of the year for alcohol-related driving accidents and drunk driving arrests.
Just in time for drivers to be reminded before the holidays, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has updated its report card for individual states' progress in their Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. Further, an article recently appeared in Men's Health that detailed a list of "top" cities for DUIs, in advance of the holiday alcohol usage rise.
The statistics for the state report card generated by MADD is based on the percent of total traffic fatalities that involve a DUI. From the brochure available at the MADD website, the list of the bottom five states, or those that have the largest percentage of traffic fatalities involving a drunk driver, is as follows:
- South Carolina
Press in Wisconsin has been responding critically to their last-place showing on the list, rehearsing the facts about Wisconsin's DUI laws that have contributed to its placement as worst on the list: the fact that ignition interlocks are optional, and only for second offenses; first-time offenders have no DUI charged to their record until they have at least one more offense; and the state is one of eleven states that does not allow law enforcement officers to set up sobriety checkpoints.
Montana is also one of the eleven states that has no law on its state legal code allowing officers to set up checkpoints, contributing to its poor placement on the list. And Hawaii, famous over the past two years for the DUI arrests of popular television actors Michelle Rodriguez, Cynthia Watros, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Daniel Dae Kim from the hit show "Lost," has no provision in its DUI statutes for use of ignition interlock devices.
The top five of the lowest percentages of alcohol-related traffic fatalities, on the other hand, were as follows:
- North Carolina
Contrary to what you would expect, and also rather contrary to MADD's efforts to get mandatory ignition interlock installation for all DUI offenders, three of the six states with the lowest percentage of traffic fatalities that are alcohol-related-Nebraska, Alaska and Maine-do not have mandatory ignition interlock laws. However, both Hawaii and South Dakota, the two others without mandatory interlock laws, are among the nation's worst.
Denver Named Worst City for DUI in the United States!
In the frankly-titled article "The Drunkest Cities," Men's Health magazine compiled a list of the 100 worst cities in America for drinking. Their criteria included drunk driving arrests reported by the FBI, DUI-related fatal auto accidents as reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation, and, finally, MADD's list of state rankings.
Once the dust cleared from all the calculation, Denver, Colorado was crowned America's drunkest city. In a statistic that does not bode well for Colorado's national reputation, three Colorado cities were ranked high on the list with poor grades for drinking: Denver with a score of 100, Colorado Springs at 98 (third worst) and Aurora at 82. According to their alphabetical grading system, Denver and Colorado Springs received Fs, and Aurora a D.
On the other hand, the East Coast gets nods for having a majority of the cities with the best alphabetical grades for least drinking. Durham, North Carolina received the top rank, while three New York cities (New York City, Yonkers and Buffalo) and Jersey City, New Jersey showed up in the top ten cities.
Following Utah's coveted top spot in the MADD list, Salt Lake City finds itself ranked 6th overall with an A- grade in the Men's Health list.