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How Tough Are Illinois Drunk-Driving Laws?

How tough do you think Illinois drunk-driving laws are, compared to the other 49 states? A Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) report says Illinois has some of the toughest drunk-driving laws in the country.

MADD has developed a five-star rating system that evaluates each state's drunk-driving laws, based on an evaluation of five categories. MADD's ratings were published in MADD's annual Report To The Nation. 

Illinois was given four stars, which means the state is tied for the fifth-toughest laws in the country. Illinois is tied with Colorado, Delaware, Missouri, Nebraska and New York.

Which States Have The Toughest And Weakest Laws?

The only states with tougher drunk-driving laws than Illinois are:

  • Arizona
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • West Virginia

Each received a 4.5-star ranking. 

Western states are prominent among those with the weakest drunk-driving laws:

  • Montana (0.5 stars)
  • Michigan, (1.0)
  • Idaho (1.5)
  • Iowa (1.5)
  • South Dakota (1.5)
  • Wyoming (1.5)

The ratings for Illinois' bordering states are: Iowa (1.5 stars); Kentucky (2); Wisconsin (2); and Indiana (3).

The Five Categories

MADD evaluates state drunk-driving laws in five categories. 

1. Ignition interlocks (Illinois received 1 star out of 1). MADD says 28 states now require ignition locks after the first offense.

2. Sobriety checkpoints (Illinois, 1 star out of 1). Sobriety checkpoints today are used by 38 states. MADD estimates that checkpoints reduce drunk-driving crashes by 20 percent.

3. Administrative license revocation (Illinois, 0.5 stars out of 1). This law enforcement tool is used by 41 states.

4. Child endangerment (Illinois, 0.5 stars out of 1). Forty-seven states penalize people who are caught driving drunk while having a child passenger.

5. Refusals (Illinois, 1 star out of 1). MADD says 20 percent of suspected drunk drivers refuse a sobriety test.

MADD's annual report is part of its Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, which was launched in 2006. The report provides an overview of legislative victories and changes in state drunk-driving laws. Since the beginning of the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, MADD says fatalities caused by drunk drivers have fallen 24 percent nationwide.

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