The first few years after Alisa was killed I thought I would never feel thanks again. I was wrong – thankfully. This past week MADD celebrated the fifth anniversary of our Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. I remember 5 years ago when it was launched – realizing that by applying research-proven countermeasures against drunk driving we will see the end of it in our lifetimes. That was exciting.
As we look at our progress this year we have made so much progress. We began with only one state requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. Today we have 16. Thirty-two states require interlocks for first time offenders and eight for repeat offenders. Those are just numbers, but those numbers have saved lives of real people. They may have saved the most important person in your life. They may have saved your life. They may have saved someone in our families. For that I am thankful.
I am also thankful for the progress on the advanced technology, the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, that will someday soon seamlessly detect whether the person behind the wheel is at or above the illegal limit of .08 BAC and prevent the car from starting. It will never interfere with the sober driver. The progress on this research has advanced more quickly than imagined when the project began. It will be in a test vehicle in a mere two years. This will make drunk driving a footnote in the history books. For this I am not only thankful, I am excited.
In my reflective moments, I am still most thankful for the wonderful support MADD provides for the thousands of individuals just like me who have been injured or had a loved one killed by a drunk driver. MADD is there for us every step of the way. For that, I am eternally grateful.