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MADD says Connecticut could do more on drunk driving laws

Connecticut rated just average for its efforts to crack down on drunk drivers

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has released its report card on the state of the nation's drunk driving laws. According to USA Today, the organization ranked each state on a five-star scale according to the number of drunk driving-prevention measures each state has in place. While Connecticut performed better than some states, the report suggests there is much work that still needs to be done. Others suggest an expansion of ignition interlock laws to include all vehicle would help reduce drunk driving accidents to almost zero.

States ranked by laws

MADD looked at the anti-drunk driving laws in each state and rated those states accordingly on a five-star scale. States were ranked based on five measures, with one star counting for each measure fulfilled. The factors considered by MADD were laws pertaining to ignition interlock devices, sobriety checkpoints, license revocation, child endangerment laws, and no-refusal events.

A handful of states, 13, received the highest possible rating of five stars, including Delaware, Maine, and West Virginia. Two states, Montana and Rhode Island, received just one star for a perceived lack of progress in improving drunk driving laws. Most other states fell somewhere in between, including Connecticut with three stars. Compared to nearby states, Connecticut ranked higher than New Jersey and Rhode Island and the same as Massachusetts, but it fell behind New York's DUI laws. The failure of the state to address child endangerment laws-which are laws that consider driving impaired with a child in the car as a form of child abuse-as the main area to be addressed by state lawmakers in the coming years.

Universal ignition interlocks

The issue of drunk driving was recently highlighted by the Hartford Courant, which suggested that the time may have come for ignition interlock devices to be made mandatory in all cars. While Connecticut currently requires ignition interlock devices for DUI offenders, the article notes that such laws fail to deal with the many drunk drivers who are never caught by police.

MADD, for example, estimates that a person caught drinking and driving has done so an average of 80 times before he or she is finally arrested. Along with making ignition interlock devices mandatory in all vehicles, car manufacturers are also looking at other technologies that would be able to determine if a driver has been drinking without requiring those drivers to perform a cumbersome breath test. Safety advocates say such technology could go a long way to finally achieving the goal of reducing drunk driving accidents to near zero.

Representation for victims

For the time being, however, drunk driving will remain a danger on Connecticut's roads and highways. When such an accident happens, victims should contact a personal injury attorney right away. While victims of drunk driving accidents are often entitled to additional claims of compensation, various legal rules apply to such claims and must be understood beforehand. An experienced attorney can help make sure victims have a better chance at recovering whatever compensation they may deserve following an accident.