Its always a bad idea to drink and drive, but when it comes to punishing offenders, some states are much stricter than others. MADD(Mothers Against Drunk Driving) gives highest marks to states that mandate that all DUI offenders-even on a first offense-install interlock devices in their cars. These breath analyzers attach to ignitions and prevent vehicles from starting if a driver's blood alcohol content is above a state-determined level, usually around 0.02 percent. Only 4 states now have this requirement: New Mexico, Arizona, Louisiana, and Illinois.(As of 2004 most other states have interlock laws, but only for repeat offenders, and they are not always mandatory.)
Who has the weakest laws? Wisconsin, the only state in which first-offense drunk driving is not a criminal offense, and North Dakota, where drivers must have five offenses before being charged with a felony, as opposed to the more typical two offenses. On the needs-improvement list: the nine states that do not automatically revoke drivers licenses upon arrest. To find the laws in your state and how to get them changed go to www.madd.org/laws.