You’ve just been hit by a person who appears to be intoxicated or impaired by drugs.
Perhaps you are injured or one of your loved ones is hurt. Maybe your mind hasn’t even processed what has just happened. And then it gets worse.
The alleged offender gets back in his or her vehicle and takes off.
What can you do? More importantly, what should you do?
Moments after a drunk driving crash, it’s important to take a few precautions for your own safety and that of any passengers.
1. Call the police – Call 911 to report the crash and all details pertaining to it, such as the:
- Number of injured persons and the severity of their injuries
- Number of vehicles involved and if the road is blocked
- If the other driver is impaired, report that information and that he is now fleeing the scene.
Be prepared to give a vehicle description to include color, make, model and license number. Do this even if it doesn’t appear to be major damage. This information will assist authorities in dispatching the appropriate resources for your crash and hopefully stopping and arresting the fleeing impaired driver.
2. Determine who is hurt and how badly – Don’t try to move people who may have neck or back injuries. If someone is bleeding and you have plastic gloves in your car, put them on and try to stop the bleeding by applying pressure.
3. Don’t engage with the drunk driver while they are on the scene – Write down the license plate or snap a picture with your phone. Take a picture of alleged offender as well if you have time but don't try to talk with an intoxicated person. Not only could it serve little purpose, but it also could be dangerous.
4. Don’t chase or attempt to stop the offender – It’s not worth risking additional injury. You need to stay at the crash site. Don’t move car parts around if possible. Focus on your breathing, your health, and your friends and family.
5. If the vehicles are drivable and no one is injured, get to a safe place – If possible, move to the side of the road or even a nearby parking lot.
Drunk driving crashes are traumatic, dangerous, and 100 percent preventable. Until we reach a future of No More Victims®, please follow these recommendations to stay safe after a crash.
By: Kenya James, 19, a Louisiana State University student who chooses not to drink alcohol while underage
From a very early age, I decided I was not going to let alcohol into my life. After watching family members, close friends and elders, who let alcohol destroy their lives, it was an easy and clear choice for me.
It’s not like I have not struggled with peer pressure to drink alcohol or take other drugs. But the decision I made early in life helped me. I chose to associate myself with a like-minded group of friends, who also wanted to stay away from alcohol while under 21. I also made other decisions to keep myself busy and away from self-destructive behaviors.
In high school, I was heavily involved in an organization called Jackets Against Destructive Decisions (JADD) which stems from the national Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapter. This organization was a safe haven for me. They showed me different ways to have fun without alcohol or drugs and taught me the negative effects these substances can have on your brain, as well as the rest of your body.
I am proud that I have the power to influence others in a positive way. I encourage everyone to use their influence to educate and encourage each other to make good and safe choices for themselves and others.
Here are some tips I have adopted that may help other teens to stay alcohol-free under 21:
• Educate yourself about the very real effects of alcohol and drug consumption on your brain and body before the age of 21.
• Remind yourself that everyone faces stress, and drinking alcohol does not make those problems disappear. Instead, it’s better to face your problems and resolve them with a clear mind.
• Talk to your parents about alcohol , and share with them that you want to stay away from it and why.
• Stay busy. Organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving are always looking for young volunteers. Instead of choosing to spend your time drinking alcohol and affecting your health, choose to volunteer for these organizations and make a difference in the world.
• Hang out with people with your mindset and high ambitions in life.
Kenya James is featured in the new Power of You(th)® booklet available on powerofyouth.com. She is a former member on MADD’s National Teen Influencer Group. This was a group of teens who worked on the Power Of Youth® program.
By Ron Replogle
Law Enforcement Initiatives Manager
I was attending the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference with 16,000 police officers from around the world Saturday, October 15, 2016, when a very tragic scene unfolded literally right before our very eyes.
At approximately 3:30 p.m., an alleged drunk driving crashed on the Coronado Bay Bridge adjacent to the San Diego Convention Center. The pickup truck stuck the bridge railing and went over the side of the bridge, and dropped 60 feet below landing on a crowd of people celebrating at a festival at Chicano Park below the bridge.
The crash killed four and injured nine.
I was approximately five blocks away attending a meeting of the State and Provincial Police Division where, ironically, we were discussing highway and public safety issues. All of us in the room heard the sirens of the first responders racing to the scene. Of course not knowing the details and the severity of this crash and of the innocent lives lost and injured, we went on about our business. A few hours later, I began to hear of the details of the crash, and, then, I saw the first local news report.
This crash is another example of the carnage that impaired drivers continue to cause on our roadways and in our society. This has to stop.
On average, 28 people are killed in our nation every day by impaired drivers. Unfortunately on October 15, 2016, four innocent people celebrating on a beautiful day in San Diego lost their life in an instant due to the criminal and brutal actions of one driver. Very sad to say the least.
The crash and case highlight exactly why we need to continue our fight to eliminate drunk driving so there are No More Victims®!
MADD Victim Services recently hosted a national webinar with a special guest, Sgt. Ryan Johansen, an officer out of California with a passion for law enforcement and also for advocating for victims and survivors.
His main point was that MADD and law enforcement must work together by doing four central things: Caring, Knowing, Supporting and Preventing.
He encouraged MADD Advocates to get involved in roll call briefings, get to know their law enforcement agencies and officers and see if a victim or survivor will share their story prior to key events, such as sobriety checkpoints or saturation patrols. Doing so may help officers who hear those stories gain continued motivation and support to continue to prevent crashes from occurring.
By working with investigating officers as well as prosecutors, advocates can make a difference by advocating that all possible charges or enhancements have been applied. They can also work by educating victims and survivors about the processes they are going through and encouraging them that the best cases take time to put together.
One of the tips he shared was that in his community they use a template warrant to garner blood draws, saving time and energy to make sure that suspected drunk drivers are tested, an example of working smarter within the community to make sure investigations are done well.
MADD appreciates his education, dedication and support. We recognize the importance of working closely with law enforcement, investigators, and prosecutors to prevent crashes or provide support when a crash occurs, and we thank them for their service.
By Richard Leotta
Father of Officer Noah A. Leotta, who died in the line of duty on 12/10/15 at the hand of a drunk driver and was reborn 10/1/16 with the enactment of Noah's Law. Noah's on patrol!
When a drunk driver killed my son, Maryland Officer Noah Leotta, I felt the crushing weight of this 100 percent preventable and violent crime, a crime propped up by the crutch of complacency, unethical special interests, and a political system that seems immovable.
On Noah's behalf, I took action.
And Noah, once again, made Maryland streets safer. Will you join me?
His death inspired support for ignition interlocks for all convicted offenders, where before only resistance existed. Today, I am asking you – as a parent, a drunk driving victim, and an individual who believes we can all change our world – to take action with me.
This is OUR judicial system. These are OUR laws, and they should protect OUR families. If you want to personally influence the 2017 state legislative session, donate to MADD's 2017 Legislative Efforts to support national and state legislative advocacy efforts.