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Massachusetts Receives Three-Star Rating for Efforts to Reduce Drunk Driving Accidents Statewide

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is celebrating the fifth anniversary of its Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. Substantial progress has made over the last five years to reduce the number of drunk driving accidents in Massachusetts and nationwide. On a five-star scale, the nation overall is currently rated at a three-star. This leaves plenty of room for future improvements.
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Drunk driving accident lawyers in Quincy, Attleboro, Newton and elsewhere know that awareness about the dangers of driving under the influence has helped over the years, but far too many motorists continue to get behind the wheel intoxicated, especially during the holiday season.

In commemoration of the anniversary, MADD has recently released its Report to the Nation, which is a state-to-state comparison on the progress being made to eliminate drunk-driving accidents. The report also estimates that drunk-driving accidents cost our country more than $132 billion annually, according to Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. Quality-of-life losses caused by drunk-driving accidents make up $71 billion in costs while monetary costs make up the other $61 billion.

Only five states have earned a five-star rating: Illinois, Kansas, Arizona, Utah and Nebraska. Fortunately, Massachusetts isn’t among those states rated one-star: Rhode Island, Michigan, Montana, Pennsylvania and South Dakota.

A state’s rating is assigned by taking into account how many of the following countermeasures have been adopted through state legislation or enforcement activity:

-Drunk-driving offenders have Administrative License Revocation enforced, which means their license is suspended or revoked for a certain period of time.

-“No-refusal” activities are utilized when a driver is suspected of drunk driving.

-Stiffer penalties are imposed against drunk drivers who are found driving intoxicated with children in the vehicle.

-Statewide sobriety checks are initiated and conducted during holiday periods or times when drinking could or is expected to take place more frequently.

-Convicted drunk drivers are required to have ignition interlocks installed in their vehicles to prevent habitual drunk-driving episodes.

According to the report, Massachusetts matches the national average with a three-star rating. This mostly due to the enactment of Melanie’s Law and strict enforcement of drunk driving laws. Our state earned a star for sobriety checkpoints, child endangerment and Administrative License Revocation. Areas that still need improvement is implementation of “no-refusal” policies and the mandatory installation of ignition interlocks for first-time convicted offenders.

MADD gives much of the progress credited to three major components. Law enforcement agencies nationwide are joining together and becoming highly visible. There are more than double ignition interlocks in use today when compared to 2006. Credit is also given to new technology such as Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS), which has researchers diligently working to make vehicles inoperable for someone testing over the legal limit permitted by law.

MADD National President Jan Withers reiterates that this time of year more than any other is extremely important for all drivers to make a commitment not to drive under the influence. MADD hopes that throughout this holiday season drivers will rededicate themselves to zero tolerance in an effort to prevent injuries and save lives during this special time of year.

The drunk-driving accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC work hard to get compensation for families who are victims of a car accident caused by an intoxicated driver. If someone in your family has been involved in an accident in Boston or throughout Massachusetts, call 1-877-617-5333 for a free appointment to discuss your case.

More Blog Entries:
Thanksgiving: A Common Holiday for Drunk Driving Accidents in Massachusetts, Nation Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog, November 14, 2011.

Melanie’s Law Significantly Reducing Repeat Drunk Driving Accidents in Massachusetts, Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog, November 7, 2011.

Proposed Alcohol Detection Devices to be Placed in Vehicles to Prevent Boston Drunk Driving Accidents, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, April 1, 2011.