The “Mothers Against Drunk Driving” — the MADD group — has handed Iowa a “C” grade for the way drunk drivers and underaged drinkers are policed. The group issued the grade on the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday to call attention to a national increase in drunken driving deaths. The nation as a whole received a “C” and Iowa also god a “C”…and MADD leaders say that’s C “for complacency.” MADD is among those pressing Iowa legislators to enact a tougher standard for judging drunken drivers, lowering the blood alcohol standard to point-oh-eight from point-one-oh. Governor Vilsack supports the move and he got a B-plus from MADD, but key legislators, like House Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Larson — the chairman of the Iowa Republican Party — and a couple of retired state troopers have opposed the move, and the House got a C-minus from the group. MADD leaders say lawmakers “lack political will and leadership” on the issue and need to join the war on drunk driving. The state of Iowa will lose millions of dollars in federal road construction money if point-oh-eight doesn’t become state law. Jan Beckstrom, chief operating officer of GuideOne, which was founded in 1947 as the nondrinkers’ insurance company, says drunk driving still plagues society today, remaining the number-one violent crime in the US. Beckstrom says 59 people are injured every hour in this country in a drunken-driving event, and 3 out of 10 Americans are going to be involved in an alcohol-related tragedy in their lifetime. She says the cost of these events is estimated to be more than 148-trillion dollars, 80-cents for every drink consumed. MADD gave Iowa an “F” grade for the way it enforces underage drinking and drunken-driving.
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