MADD says Louisiana can do more to prevent drunk driving

MADD says Louisiana can do more to prevent drunk driving

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Mother's Against Drunk Driving says Louisiana can do more to keep people from getting behind the wheel while they're under the influence.

As part of their "Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving," MADD released this report that rates every state's drunk driving laws.

They used a 5-star rating system based on categories like sobriety checkpoints and ignition interlock laws; those are devices that prevent a vehicle from starting if a driver is drunk.

"What Louisiana didn't do well is Louisiana is one of only nine states that doesn't have an administrative license revocation law, meaning that they don't immediately seize your license in a uniform statewide way upon a drunk driving arrest," said Frank Harris who is MADD's Director of State Government Affairs.

The national rating was 2.91 but Louisiana came in below that at 2.5. Mississippi got 4.5 stars and Alabama was rated 3.5.

"Where Louisiana did do well is they do do good activities to crack down on people who try to refuse a chemical test and they have penalties for people who refuse a chemical test as well after a suspected drunk driving arrest," said Harris.

Louisiana State Police tell us they're doing everything they can to keep people safe.

"One of our primary missions is combating drunk driving and that's something we do on a daily basis through enforcement and education. On the enforcement side, whether it's checkpoints, saturation patrols or getting out in our areas, we are certainly doing that. On the administrative side, there is no refusal weekends. There are a whole slew of tools that law enforcement has in our belt to combat the state's DWI problem, which, you know, we do have one and we are fighting to get it under control," said LSP Trooper, Dustin Dwight.

MADD says another way Louisiana could improve its rating is by updating its ignition interlock law.

"The major thing is making sure that every first offender uses an ignition interlock and that anybody who uses an interlock can only get off the device after they've had at least two or three months of sober driving," said Harris.

State Police say they've seen a slight increase in alcohol-related fatal crashes. In 2013, 42% of fatal crashes involved alcohol. In 2014, it was 44% and last year, it was 46%. Keep in mind those numbers don't include drug impairment.

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