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MADD report isn't exactly flattering for Rhode Island

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) released a report recently about how every state in the United States i doing when it comes to drunk driving prevention. Unfortunately for us here in Rhode Island, our state was recognized as one of the worst states in the union in this regard. Only Montana scored as low as Rhode Island in this report by MADD.

MADD did praise Rhode Island for a rule that was passed recently. The law forces an ignition interlock upon a driver that is a repeat offender or a first-time offender if their blood alcohol content exceeds 0.15. But otherwise, Rhode Island did not score particularly well according to MADD's metrics and categories.

While we certainly hope that we, as a state, can get things right when it comes to drunk driving, we shouldn't immediately assume that "more laws" and "more punishment" will immediately lead us to a society where drunk driving is completely eliminated. Drunk driving will persist for a long, long time, and sometimes excessive punishment can only make things worse for those who are convicted of drunk driving.

Some of these individuals may have serious alcohol dependency issues, and by punishing them severely with jail time, fines, and ignition interlock, we may actually be making it more difficult for them to get their life in order. Less money; less opportunity; more guilt; and a general lack of resources and help can lead these people down a path to recidivism -- and nobody wants that.

Source: WPRO, "RI worst in country at preventing drunk driving," Kim Kalunian, Jan. 16, 2015

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