From Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage --
Mothers Against Drunk Drivers today scored Alaska four out of five stars in a state-by-state ranking of DUI prevention across the country.
In its "2014 Report to the Nation," the non-profit outline five actions each state should take to curb drunken driving. Alaska has already enacted most of those steps, including:
- Requiring ignition interlock devices for people convicted of DUI.
- Suspending driver's licenses for DUI offenders.
- Adding penalties for people who drive drunk with a child in the car.
- Penalizing drivers who refuse to take blood alcohol tests.
The missing piece, MADD says, is sobriety checkpoints.
"While all countermeasures are important to improve a state's drunk driving reform, we know that ignition interlocks and sobriety checkpoints are the two most effective ways to dramatically reduce fatalities and injuries," the group wrote.
Drunk driving deaths in the U.S. increased in 2012 for the first time in six years, the nonprofit says. Alaska was one of 30 states that already implement at least four of anti-DUI policies outlined by MADD. Nine states have enacted all five, while Rhode Island and Montana fared the most poorly, with only one of the highlighted policies in place.
Up next in DUI prevention? MADD is pushing for smart cars that automatically detect alcohol via a driver's touch or exhaled breath.