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MADD Celebrates Mississippi’s Passage of Lifesaving Ignition Interlock Legislation
By MADD | April 23, 2014 | Filed in: Drunk Driving

Today, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed into law a bill that requires any convicted drunk driver with a BAC of .08 or greater who obtains driving privileges during a license suspension to use an interlock for at least 90 days on a first-conviction and at least one year for repeat offenses.

MADD thanks Speaker Phillip Gunn (a victim of drunk driving, read his story here), Representative Andy Gipson, Senator Briggs Hopson, and Representative Kevin Horan for their leadership and commitment to the passage of this very important piece of legislation that will protect the public from drunk drivers.

When MADD launched the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® in 2006 only one state, New Mexico, required interlock for all convicted drunk drivers. Today, Mississippi joins 21 other states that have enacted these lifesaving laws. MADD has made ignition interlocks for all offenders its number one legislative priority.

Studies show that a first-time convicted drunk driver is not a first-time offender, but rather it is simply the first time they have been caught. In fact, first-time offenders have driven drunk an average of 80 times before they are convicted.

Requiring all convicted drunk drivers to use ignition interlocks to prove they are sober before they can start their vehicles has been shown to save lives and stop drunk driving. Arizona, Oregon, New Mexico and Louisiana, have seen a reduction in DUI deaths by 33 to 46 percent, largely due to these comprehensive laws requiring all drunk drivers to receive an interlock.

Not every state is protected by these lifesaving laws, so find out if your state requires ignition interlocks for all DUI offenders and take action.

Learn more about ignition interlocks and the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®.

The Power of 21 (Guest Blog)
By Guest Blogger | April 21, 2014 | Filed in: Underage Drinking , Power of Parents

By Kathi Sullivan, whose daughter Taylor drowned after a night of drinking.

My Tay would have graduated from college last year, but instead she didn't even get to finish her senior year.  Her and her friends' chose to drink underage that Friday night at a party outside in the woods, which led to her being lost, in the dark, fighting for her life on a cold October evening .  My only daughter was found three days later, drowned in barely two feet of water, all because of the alcohol in her system.

The underage drinking statistic you hear are real people.  Daughters, sons, sisters, brothers.  I too heard the numbers before losing Taylor, and they were just numbers to me as well.   You never expect your child to become one of those numbers.  PowerTalk 21 is about showing parents that they have the capability to empower their children to make good choices for themselves. 

I WAS one of those parents that thought "kids will be kids, it's a rite of passage".   The ultimate price was paid by my family, and I now look at those statistics as what they truly are, my Tay, their Shelby, Lauren & Alexis. It is our hope today that those numbers are never to include your children.

My youngest son, Logan, will hopefully never join those statistics because he has the power and knowledge that I have shared with him to know that underage drinking is not acceptable.  Please, never underestimate how much your opinion influences you children. I did, and it changed my family's life forever.   

Today, I could easily list 21 reasons why I miss Taylor every day. The Power of 21 will empower you to have 21 reasons why you enjoy your kids every day! 

By MADD | April 21, 2014 | Filed in: Underage Drinking , Power of Parents

A new powdered alcohol product called “Palcohol” was recently approved by the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. This product is the latest in a long list of specialty alcohol fads. We’ve seen vaporized alcohol, whipped cream alcohol, caffeinated alcohol—and the list goes on. While the form of alcohol might change, the issues remain the same.

MADD is not against alcohol for those over the age of 21, no matter how it’s packaged. However, MADD urges adults to always plan ahead for a non-drinking designated driver.

As with anything “new,” this product may be attractive to youth, so MADD encourages parents to talk with their teens about the dangers of underage drinking—because alcohol is illegal for those under 21, no matter how it’s packaged.

In fact, today is PowerTalk 21 day, the national day for parents to talk with their kids about alcohol. Parents can get the free Power of Parents handbook or attend a free 30-minute online Power of Parents discussion, in order to equip them with the tools to start what could be a potentially lifesaving conversation.

Together, we can help prevent drunk driving and underage drinking.

Thanking Our Sponsors
By MADD | April 20, 2014 | Filed in: Underage Drinking , Power of Parents

21 Days in Support of 21: Day 20

Join us in thanking our generous sponsors and partners for their support of the Power of Parents® program and PowerTalk 21.




CafeMom Joins MADD to Prevent Underage Drinking
By MADD | April 19, 2014 | Filed in: Underage Drinking , Power of Parents

21 Days in Support of 21: Day 19

This year, CafeMom—the largest meeting place for moms—has joined forced with MADD to promote PowerTalk 21 and offer moms across the country the tools to talk with their teens about alcohol.


Moms who participate in CafeMom’s online discussion by sharing how they plan to talk with their teens about alcohol will be entered to win a gift card and a MADD/CafeMom prize pack.  Click here to learn more.

Ask the Experts

Earlier in the month, CafeMom asked their members to submit questions about talking with their teens about underage drinking to Pennsylvania State University Researcher Robert Turrisi, PhD, developer of the research-based Power of  Parents handbook, and MADD National President Jan Withers, whose 15-year-old daughter was killed by an underage drunk driver.

Here are the top 10 questions:

  1. My daughter is only 7 but she knows a lot about drugs and alcohol as well as what can happen. Her grandma went to jail for a DUI twice, her second was a felony because of the amount of alcohol in her system. Her grandpa was in prison for selling meth. She doesn't like alcohol and she doesn't like drugs at all. She especially doesn’t like beer in our house when we drink it. I have explained that beer is okay and alcohol is okay as long as you are responsible with it. When I was a teen, alcohol was permitted on special occasions and as long as I stayed home with family. I will explain it just like that. I am responsible with it and I don't take it too far, therefore I am allowed to do it.
  2. What age do you start talking to them about drinking? My kids are ages 8 and 10 years old. Also, how should we handle the topic when we discuss it?
  3. What's hard is, when I was 18, drinking was legal. So, my kids have always thought that the drinking age should remain at 18, even when it was raised to 21. Despite our best efforts to make our kids follow the law and not drink until the age of 21, they still did. 2 of my 3 kids ended up in the ER with blood alcohol poisoning (at different stages of their lives). Despite ALL the warnings we gave them that drinking underage IS illegal, that it IS harmful and that NEVER should they drink and drive, they still felt invincible. How DO we get through to teens? I know mine are not the only ones that still went ahead and drank anyway? Peer pressure...the voices of their parents in their heads 'warning' them becomes quite distant when they are amongst friends that are also participating. After the ER incident, we purchased a breathalyzer and when our youngest comes home at night after hanging out with friends, she knows that at any one of those nights, we may pull it out and test her. She has been warned that if there is EVER a smidgen of alcohol in her when she tests, she will be DONE driving our car. Period. There is NO grace period on this.
  4. How do you handle the topic of an alcoholic relative? Close relative like grandparent? Especially when the kids may not realize it.
  5. What age is appropriate to begin these talks?
  6. What is the biggest mistake parents make regarding this topic?
  7. My kids are still younger then teens but what can I do now to prepare them so it is easier when they are teens? 
  8. What is the best way to keep reminding teens without wearing out the message or sounding nagging?
  9. Would you consider Energy type drinks to be a risk as well?

Want to read the experts’ answers? Sign up here and we’ll send them to you when they’re ready.

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