Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wisconsin Earns Failing Grade for Drunk Driving Prevention, by Madison Norris

Mothers Against Drunk Driving gives Wisconsin a failing grade because the state does not do enough to prevent people from drunk driving. Wisconsin received a 2 out of 5 rating. 

The state received this rating because Wisconsin categorizes a first drunken driving offense as a traffic case, not a criminal case. In a criminal case blood samples can be taken via search warrant. In a traffic case blood samples cannot be taken.

"Conservative estimates show that a first-time convicted OWI offender has driven drunk at least 80 times prior to being arrested," says MADD. "According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, a majority of drunken driving deaths and injuries are caused by offenders with no prior convictions."

MADD says because a first-offense is considered a traffic case, the punishment for drunk driving is not severe enough. MADD believes this does not give drivers incentive to stay off the roads after drinking.

Michigan, Minnesota and Iowa also received 2 out of 5. The only state to earn a lower rating was Montana.

This poor rating for the region comes after the recent story on national drug and alcohol arrests. According to, five UW institutions ranked in the top 20 in the nation for on-campus arrests per 1,000 students. The University of WI-La Crosse ranked third.