A report recently released by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that despite five straight years of decline, motor vehicle traffic fatalities have increased 9 percent from 2011. This increase is the largest jump from a previous year since the NHTSA started collecting data in 1975.
While the NHTSA isn’t ready to propose ideas as to why the surge has occurred, we do know that drunk driving continues to be the cause for about 30 percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States.
As a result of the increase, MADD has recently called for states to pass all-offender ignition interlock laws. While all 50 states and the District of Columbia now have ignition interlock laws, only 17 states have made ignition interlock devices mandatory for ALL convicted drunk drivers, including first-time offenders. The 17 states that have implemented first-time offender laws have seen dramatic decreases in their drunk driving deaths. Oregon and Arizona have seen their fatalities drop by more than 50 percent!
The National President of MADD, Jan Withers, said recently, “There is no longer a debate on interlock effectiveness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 15 other peer-reviewed studies, have confirmed that interlocks reduce repeat drunk driving offenses by two-thirds.”
On July 6th of this year President Obama signed a bill called MAP -21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century) into law. With the passage of MAP-21, all states are now provided funding to help them implement their ignition interlock programs.
With concerns of funding a first-time interlock offender program now out of the way, now is the time for the other 33 states to pass legislation requiring first-time offenders to install ignition interlock devices!