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Driving under the influence is a serious problem across the country. Every year thousands of people suffer serious injuries and hundreds lose their lives because of drunk driving. Fortunately, Colorado’s efforts in recent decades to prevent alcohol-related accidents have been paying off, with fewer deaths in just the past few years. The national organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving, a well-known advocate for driving safety, recently commended the state’s efforts with its highest marks.

MADD’s recent annual drunk driving report gave Colorado five stars, the highest possible score, because the state’s ignition-interlock laws produced a 19 percent drop in alcohol-related fatalities. An ignition-interlock device prevents a car from starting if a driver’s blood alcohol is over a certain limit. MADD’s scoring system includes ratings on five main countermeasures states can take to prevent drunk driving deaths; a state receives one star for each category that it has successfully fulfilled. The categories are ignition-interlock system laws, sobriety checkpoints, license revocations, child endangerment laws and non-refusal events. Every category has been shown to lower intoxicated driving.

Colorado and 12 other states received five stars. Montana and Rhode Island showed the least progress; both states only received one star. A public safety spokesperson for Kansas, another five-star state, indicated that state officials are pleased with MADD’s recognition, but will continue to work to reduce deaths because losing even one life in a drunk driving incident is unacceptable.

Despite the state’s high rating, Colorado residents should remain vigilant. Besides participating in state efforts to prevent accidents, state residents can hold drunk drivers legally accountable if they are involved in accidents. Doing so can not only bring some measure of justice, but also possibly compensation. Legal action can also serve as a reminder that no form of negligence will be tolerated in the state.