LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports

CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White attributes the state’s top safety rating from Mothers Against Drunk Driving to widespread use of the Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device.

As WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports, White says the device is simple – if the driver blows in alcohol-laden air, the car won’t start.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports

White acknowledges the device is not completely foolproof. The car can start if the passenger blows clean in place of a drunk driver.

“So yes, you can do that, but you’re looking for a one-year period of time in jail,” he said, “and it also should send another message to you, and that is, in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong person at the wheel.”

White says in 2008, there were 519 alcohol-related fatalities on the roads. In 2009, the first year for breath interlocks, there were 480 fatalities, and in 2010, that figure dropped to 436.

White says there are now 12,000 Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Devices in use in Illinois.

MADD gave Illinois, Arizona, Kansas, Nebraska and Utah the highest ratings of five stars for DUI prevention. At the bottom with one star were Michigan, Montana, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and South Dakota.