Nebraska’s drunk driving policies are among the best in the country, according to a new report from the group, Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
The report gives Nebraska four-and-a-half stars out of five for its various laws and efforts to deter, identify and arrest impaired motorists.
Frank Harris, MADD’s director of state government affairs, says Nebraska fared very well in the report.
“They’re one of 28 states that has an all-offender ignition interlock law and Nebraska also allows for the use of sobriety checkpoints and they do it at least monthly,” Harris says. “Nebraska also has an administrative license suspension law and they allow for the use of interlocks immediately following an arrest.”
The interlock device is wired into a vehicle’s ignition system and a convicted drunk driver must blow into the device in order to start their vehicle. If they have a measurable amount of alcohol in their system, the vehicle won’t start.
No states got a five-star rating this year. Michigan got one star and Montana only got a half-a-star. Despite being among the best-ranked states, Harris says Nebraska has work ahead.
“There’s still room for improvement in Nebraska’s drunk driving law, even though they are one of the best states in this rating,” Harris says. “The state needs to be vigilant in improving its current ignition interlock law, improving on the compliance-based removal aspect of the interlock law.”
“There hasn’t been meaningful reform to Nebraska’s drunk driving law since 2011,” Harris says. “We really hope senators do something to improve the drunk driving law this upcoming session.”
The average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before a first arrest. Last year, Nebraska had 65 drunk driver-related deaths and 1,094 alcohol-related crash injuries, and 5,348 DUI arrests.
The report, “Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, 2016 Report to the Nation,” is being released as the country begins holiday celebrations that mark a deadly period of drunk driving crashes.
Nationwide last year, 973 people were killed in drunk driving crashes between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, which is nearly 10% of all drunk driving crashes for the year.