As a sort of surprise for the holiday season, MADD released its annual “state of the union” report early, rating DUI efforts across the country. With the early release also came a newer, perhaps friendlier rating system that allows states to see the next steps needed to meet MADD’s five-star criteria for drunk driving prevention excellence. Nebraska DUI efforts were given a top ranking, with just a couple of tiny tweaks needed, according to MADD.
Nebraska earned a four-and-a-half star rating from MADD because:
- The state has an all-offender ignition interlock requirement.
- Interlocks are allowed immediately after a DUI arrest as an alternative to a DMV license suspension and waiting for a court order.
- DMV license suspensions are allowed for all DUI offenses.
- Sobriety checkpoints are a part of anti-DUI efforts.
Fortunately, Nebraska DUI law is pretty close to perfect. All that MADD recommends as changes are:
- Better ignition interlock compliance and enforcement of the requirement.
- Enacting dram shop liability laws that could hold servers, bartenders or owners of bars/restaurants responsible for serving alcohol to someone who is intoxicated and/or allowing them to drive in that condition.
All in all, the Nebraska DUI rating is excellent, especially in comparison to states like Iowa and Wisconsin. Nebraska has reported a decrease in alcohol-related crashes annually (almost by half since 1995), especially after its ignition interlock law was enhanced in 2012. Continued efforts (such as the mandatory 45-day license suspension that was added in 2013) will only increase that level of safety, and perhaps the MADD rating as well.
Congratulations to Nebraska on their hard work and non-stop vigilance in reducing and eliminating drunk driving. Despite the Midwestern DUI stereotype and reputation of states with similar demographics, Nebraska proves that the only thing stopping a state from increasing road safety is a lack of determination.