Elizabeth Daigneau is GOVERNING's managing editor.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
To reduce drunk driving, promote best practices and ensure federal funds are targeted toward successful state strategies, the NHTSA compared 10 state drunk-driving programs, identifying best practices and challenges facing each program.
Alcohol-related traffic fatalities accounted for 39 percent of the 43,443 traffic deaths reported in 2005 in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. To reduce drunk driving, promote best practices and ensure federal funds are targeted toward successful state strategies, the NHTSA compared 10 state drunk-driving programs. The audit identified best practices and challenges facing each program, and also established two key elements that define a successful program: sustained enforcement of laws and effective prosecution and full application of sanctions. Best practices include directing drunk-driving fines back to local community programs and targeting risk areas, while challenges include an inability to fund all police patrols requested and problems created due to lengthy arrest procedures. The audit concludes that a draft of voluntary guidelines for measuring program performance will help the NHTSA better target funds to help states develop best practices and reduce drunk driving. The 10 states covered in the audit are California, Connecticut, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico New York, Ohio, Texas and South Carolina. To read about more best practices and see how states were selected, click here.