The statistics are alarming. Every two minutes, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash. There are 300,000 instances of drinking and driving each day which result in 10,497 deaths per year, or one death every 50 minutes.
MADD was created in 1980 when Candice Lightner, a mother in California whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, started working to change drunk driving laws in her state. She brought a picture of her daughter with her to meetings and hearings, a tradition that continues to this day.
Since then, fatalities due to drunk driving have declined by 50%, all 50 states raised the legal drinking age to 21 and made it illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.
MADD gets these results by focusing on the following areas:
- Supporting more high visibility law enforcement such as DUI checkpoints
- Ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers - this requires the driver to use a breathalyzer in order to start their car
- Advocating for advanced vehicle technology, which in addition to self-driving cars, includes developing a Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety - technology that would automatically test a driver's BAC through breath or touch before starting the car
- Education for parents, teens and the public at large
MADD also has a range of victim assistance programs which include providing emotional support and helping people navigate the criminal and civil justice systems. You can contact your local office or call the 24-Hour Victim Help Line: 877-MADD-HELP
To support the work of MADD there are a number of ways you can get involved. Create a tribute for someone in your life, lobby, volunteer, donate and spread the word by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @MADDOnline
Wishing you a safe, happy, feel good new year!