Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) issued their annual ratings for all states recently, and what was most notable about the report wasn’t the five stars they handed out to the top states; it was the one star they handed out to Michigan.
MADD has a certain criteria that has to be met in order for a state to receive a star, and for some of the criteria they might give out a half star to show improvement. To get five full stars the state must have an all offender ignition interlock law, have felony laws for people who bring their kids along for the ride when they drive drunk, and have regular sobriety checkpoints. There is also criteria that includes whether or not a driver’s license is suspended immediately upon drunk driving arrest or whether there are severe repercussions if a driver refuses a breathalyzer.
The thing with Michigan is that it’s not meeting most of the criteria, and even worse, they’ve taken a step back from where they were a year ago and have gone from a two star MADD state to the only one star on the report.
MADD isn’t happy with Michigan because the state isn’t strict enough about drunk driving penalties and laws, but they’ve said that the reason the state was demoted was because they don’t require a drunk driver to be charged with a felony if that person is caught drunk driving with children in the vehicle. They also aren’t impressed that drivers who refuse to submit to a breathalyzer, blood, or urine test aren’t required to install an ignition interlock in their vehicle.
Right now Michigan also has other strikes against it. State law enforcement doesn’t run regular sobriety checkpoints, and the state only requires ignition interlocks for people who are considered to be “super drunk” or repeat offenders. When you put it all together it’s easy to see why MADD thinks of Michigan as a state that’s seriously lacking in comparison to other states who are doing all they can to fight drunk driving.
2017’s MADD state by state rating is only a year away. Let’s hope Michigan uses the time in between to strengthen their ignition interlock laws and improve all areas of their drunk driving law.