MADD is more than glad about how Utah is fighting drunken driving.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety gave Utah the highest grades of any state Thursday in a national report card rating states' anti-drunken driving efforts.MADD had planned to give a letter grade to each state. But because information on some states was incomplete, it instead simply listed the top 10 states in 10 separate categories.
Utah was listed in the top 10 in seven different divisions - more than any other state. Three other states - Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey - finished in the top 10 six times each.
On the other end of the scale, eleven states did not finish in the top 10 in any category - Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Overall, MADD gave the nation only a "C" on its fight against drunken driving.
"The nation's `C' performance will not win the war on drunk driving," said Micky Sadoff, national president of MADD. "Our nation's commitment and action, not just words or good intentions, are needed to finally eradicate this tragic epidemic."
But the group was laudatory of Utah's efforts in most categories, for example:
Leadership - Utah finished in the top 10 because of Gov. Norm Bangerter's endorsement of Driving Under the Influence legislation and because of the state's actively involved DUI task force.
Victim issues - Utah finished in the top 10 because of its DUI-specific Victim Bill of Rights, victim programs and a compensation statute.
Statistical reporting - Utah finished in the top 10 because of quality police reporting of alcohol involvement in accidents, and the testing blood-alcohol levels of fatally injured and surviving drivers in fatal accidents.
Driving-while-intoxicated legislation - Utah finished in the top 10 because of laws allowing seizure of driving licenses from those arrested for DUI; laws setting what is alcohol blood level are considered proof of DUI; laws prohibiting open containers of alcohol in cars; laws outlining DUI conviction sanctions; and "implied consent" laws where drivers agree when obtaining licenses to submit to blood-alcohol tests when ordered or forfeit their licenses.
Responsible alcohol service environment - Utah finished in the top 10 because of a statute requiring alcohol server training and ban on happy hours, which MADD says foster excessive drinking because of reduced-price promotions.
Youth prevention/education - Utah finished in the top 10 because of its education programs, drivers license policies and lower blood-alcohol limits for underage drivers.
Self-sufficiency programs - Utah finished in the top 10 because of its programs to make alcohol users fund more of the costs of drunken driving and enforcement. It praised Utah's alcohol assessment fees and special taxes on alcohol.
The three categories where Utah did not finish in the top 10 were: enforcement, where MADD said the state needs better investigation of improper sale of alcohol and more use of passive alcohol sensors in police cars; public information, where it said a more comprehensive program is needed; and innovative programs seeking novel solutions to problems.