In its Report to the Nation 2015, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) released its ratings, on a scale of one to five stars, for each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C.'s, efforts in curbing drunk driving fatality rates. The annual rankings are announced in accordance with the group's nearly decade-long Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, which, as its name implies, aims to both raise community awareness about the dangers of drunk driving as well as push new legislation for DUI enforcement. Not all states earned that illustrious five-star rating, though, with some performing significantly better than others — not a concern for Colorado, though, which did rank as a five-star state for DUI prevention.
"Colorado has been successful in reducing drunk driving fatalities," writes MADD in its report, applauding the state on its DUI protection efforts. "The state highly incentivizes the use of ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers by allowing a shorter license suspension period for those who elect to go on an interlock immediately following a drunk driving conviction. Due in part to the state's all-offender interlock law, drunk driving deaths have dropped by 19 percent."
As local news affiliate NBC 9 notes, MADD's ratings are determined by each state's progress made across five distinct categories:
- Child endangerment laws: In most of the country, driving drunk with a child in the car at the time is legally considered child abuse.
- Ignition interlock laws: These devices are installed into the vehicles of drivers charged with DUI and used to measure blood alcohol content (BAC) levels before they are able to turn the key. MADD's position on the law is that first-time offenders should be required to use an interlock device in their car for six months, while repeat offenders would have to use them for longer.
- No-refusal blood alcohol tests: This initiative gives law enforcement the right "to obtain an expedited warrant" for a blood alcohol test if an alleged driver refuses to consent to one.
- Revoked license laws: Legislation that gives an arresting officer the authority to revoke a driver's license from a motorist charged with DUI.
- Sobriety checkpoints: Police checkpoints placed throughout roadways to randomly screen drivers for intoxication levels. Along with ignition interlock devices, MADD considers these random checkpoints among the most effective measures in preventing DUI deaths.
It's certainly a point of pride for Coloradoans that our state ranks so highly in the nation for preventing fatal DUI accidents — but it's precisely because of how well we perform in this regard that drivers accused of DUI in Colorado need to seek out expert legal counsel. Motorists charged with DUI can face harsh penalties such as fines, legal fees, a suspended or revoked license and even time in prison.
If you've been accused of driving under the influence, contact The Orr Law Firm today for an expert Colorado DUI attorney to defend your case.