Drunk driving in Mississippi seems to have more problems than we thought. Despite tough DUI laws and all-offender ignition interlock requirements, the state scored pretty low in a recent report, using data from MADD and the CDC, showing that in comparison to other states, Mississippi’s 1.7 percent increase in DUI fatalities (up to 5.86 deaths per 100,000 residents) is a problem.
On the other hand, there are some other facts that show drunk driving in Mississippi may not be quite as bad as that report says:
- All-offender ignition interlock policy. A convicted drunk driver must install and maintain an ignition interlock device for at least six months, even for a first offense.
- Drunk driving in Mississippi is rising, like the rest of the U.S. In 2016, drunk driving fatality rates rose across the country, from around 10,000 to 14,000. Most states cite smaller budgets and less ability to patrol streets or enforce ignition interlock policies.
- Plus, a recent MADD report with more recent and comprehensive ignition interlock data shows that fatalities from drunk driving in Missouri has dropped by 16.6 percent since 2013.
- Finally, the state requires anyone with an interlock to prove compliance with the device before it can be legally removed from the court. That means fewer circumvention and attempts to tamper with the devices or blow them off entirely.
Don’t get us wrong, drunk driving in Mississippi is a big deal, and unless we all do our part to help keep our roads safe, those numbers will only get worse. While the numbers continue to show that drunk driving is on the rise across the U.S., there are other numbers that point to the number one way to get those numbers down, perhaps for good. Ignition interlock devices stopped over 2.4 million attempts to drive drunk across the U.S. in the last decade. That’s a fact that is hard to ignore, no matter which state you call home.