Help at Your Fingertips
August 27, 2014
Originally featured in the 2014 summer edition of MADDvocate®.
Many survivors of drunk and drugged driving crashes, as well as loved ones of those who’ve died, feel lost and helpless after the crash. While friends and family members are often available in the days immediately surrounding the tragedy, finding a support system that lasts a lifetime can be difficult. That is why MADD’s Victim Services are so vital.
Thanks to the explosion of the Internet and social media, getting these tools is easier than ever. Here are just a few of the avenues that victims can use to connect to other victims, honor loved ones and find much-needed resources:
On MADD’s tribute page, victims and survivors can post pictures and memories of their loved ones and read about others with similar stories. Participants can even raise money in the name of a loved one if they choose.
For years, victims and survivors relied on finding face-to-face support groups and other in-person meetings to connect with others experiencing similar emotions. However, due to location or the demands of busy schedules, these groups weren’t always accessible. The MADD Victim Services Facebook page gives victims and survivors the chance to engage with other victims, ask questions, provide comfort to others or read other victims’ stories.
Virtual Candlelight Vigil
Every holiday season, MADD hosts an online event where friends and relatives of victims and survivors have the opportunity to post something in memory or in honor of a loved one and light a virtual candle. This annual event provides an outlet for emotions during a tough time of year.
MADD offers a wide array of support materials on a number of different topics related to drunk and drugged driving victimization. Whether a victim/survivor needs help navigating the criminal justice system or just wants to know whether what they are feeling is normal, these brochures and workbooks can be downloaded at no charge from any computer.
If you still can’t find what you need online, call MADD ’s National Victim Services Help Line at 1-877-MADD -HELP (877-623-3435), toll free.
Celebrate Safely this Labor Day
August 26, 2014
Labor Day is celebrated by many Americans as the symbolic end of summer. With back to school and fall just around the corner, many families take advantage of this long summer weekend and head out on a last summer vacation or a day trip to the beach, pool or lake.
But holidays like Labor Day can be an especially dangerous time on America’s roadways. In 2012, there were 147 people killed in drunk driving crashes over Labor Day weekend. To put that into perspective, throughout the year someone is killed in a drunk driving crash every 51 minutes, on average. Over the Labor Day weekend, that statistic jumps to one every 34 minutes.
Thankfully, law enforcement will be out in force ready to arrest drunk drivers who put lives at risk from August 15 through September 1, covering the end of summer and the busy Labor Day holiday weekend.
Research shows that these campaigns result in a 20-percent decrease in drunk driving deaths. With one person, on average, dying every 34 minutes in a drunk-driving crash over Labor Day weekend, that’s a lot of lives that could be saved!
There are several ways you can help keep your loved ones safe this Labor Day holiday:
If you plan to be on the road during this dangerous time period, please be careful, and remember to spread the word that driving after drinking is simply not worth the risk … so don’t take the chance.
Share this image to remind everyone to drive safe and sober this Labor Day Holiday:
How's Your Defensive Driving IQ? (Guest Blog)
August 22, 2014
Provided by Nationwide Insurance®, the national presenting sponsor of the Power of Parents® program. Nationwide also offers exclusive discounts to MADD supporters, learn more.
The latest in automotive tech will never override sound, safe driving.
Is your car “loaded” with an assortment of safety-enhancement technology? That’s a good thing, of course. And auto manufacturers continue to come up with new innovations on this front, such as collision detection systems that can “sense” when you’re in danger of crashing into another vehicle. That said, you are the most reliable “gadget” to ensure a safe trip.
You can make all the right choices, but others on the road may not be as responsible. For instance, adults drank too much and got behind the wheel about 112 million times in 2010 in the U.S. Driving defensively may help you identify and avoid a dangerous situation.
Here are seven ways to immediately boost your defensive-driving IQ:
1. Mirror image. Blind spots serve as a frequent source of accidents. You can make small mirror adjustments to improve your view so there’s little to no visibility gap between the rearview and side mirrors. “If you see a car in your rearview mirror trying to pass you to the right, for example, you should immediately be able to see it in that right-side mirror,” says Jordan Perch, chief blogger for DMV.com, a clearinghouse of driving-related news (and resources for finding a defensive-driving class near you). “You won’t be able to see the back portion of your vehicle, but it’s the safest way to neutralize blind spots.”
As for the side view mirrors, Perch says, most people adjust them so they can see the side of the car on the inside edge of each mirror. “If you adjust your mirrors using those criteria, you create large blind spots and overlap with your rear view mirror,” he says. “To eliminate the blind spot, simply adjust the side view mirrors just beyond the point where you could see the side of the car on the inside edge of the mirror.”
2. Panoramic perspective. Sometimes, it’s natural to lapse into “tunnel vision” by focusing only on the vehicle ahead of you. But you want to avoid this trap by keeping your eyes moving to boost awareness of everything around you. “Observe traffic signs and changing road conditions,” Perch says. “Anticipate your next turn well in advance so you don’t have to change lanes abruptly.”
3. Total visibility. In addition to being able to see everything around you, it’s important to stay as visible as possible to other drivers. Toward this end, check to see that all headlights, brake lights, etc. are in good working order. Always use your turn signal, and turn your headlights on when driving in any bad weather, fog or heavy overcast conditions.
4. Minimal distractions. In today’s “always on/always connected” age, it’s difficult to resist pulling out that mobile device, isn’t it? But you’re putting yourself, your passengers and other motorists at extreme risk; about one-quarter of auto collisions involve cell phones. And every time you attend to a text while behind the wheel, you’ll be distracted for at least five entire seconds – the amount of time it takes to drive the length of an entire football field at 55 mph, according to published research. So put the device away. And adjust your stereo, temperature controls and navigation systems before you head out to avoid doing so while on the road. “You need to keep these to a minimum – or eliminate them completely,” Perch says. “You should never talk on the phone or send text messages while behind the wheel. Taking your eyes off the road for just a couple of seconds can turn out to be fatal.”
5. Proper grip. Ever wonder what the most optimal hand position is on the wheel? Driving experts recommend the 10 o’clock/2 o’clock or 9 o’clock/3 o’clock positions. Either way, make sure both hands are holding on firmly.
6. Speed smarts. The posted speed limit specifies the restriction under “normal” circumstances. You’ll need to bring it down lower when navigating in bad weather. “If you feel motorists around you are driving too fast and you’re pressured to keep up, move to the right lane, where you can go slower,” Perch says. A good rule of thumb is to leave no less than three seconds of space between you and the vehicle ahead – and twice that much in bad conditions.
7. Alert status. Drowsy driving causes an estimated 100,000 crashes a year, resulting in 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and about $12.5 billion in losses, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports. Aside from getting a good night’s sleep, you can take steps to raise your alertness level, such as drinking lots of water to stay hydrated. Exercising and eating a good mix of fruits, veggies and proteins helps too, as opposed to sweet and/or salty snacks, which can “bring you down.”
Please Support Alisa’s Law
August 21, 2014
So far, thousands of MADD supporters have contacted their legislators in support of Alisa’s Law. We’ve helped show Congresswoman Lowey that as she fights for Alisa’s Law, she has us fighting by her side. If you haven’t emailed your legislator yet, you can do that here.
Together, we’ve changed the culture on drunk driving. In 2006, New Mexico was the only state to require all convicted drunk drivers to use an ignition interlock. Today, thanks to you and MADD supporters like you, almost half of all states have passed similar laws.
But we need to keep the fight going to get the other 26 states to pass this lifesaving legislation so that convicted drunk drivers can’t continue to endanger innocent lives.
With your support, this new legislation that bears Alisa’s name can protect another daughter, son, mother, father, sister, or brother from sharing her fate. Please make your urgent tax-deductible contribution today.
“As honored as I am to have this legislation in Alisa’s name, I wish more than anything that we didn’t need an Alisa’s Law, or a Leandra’s Law in New York, or an Emma’s Law in South Carolina, or a Melanie’s Law in Massachusetts – or any more laws to stop this needless and 100% preventable crime.”
– Jan Withers, MADD National President
MADD Statement on Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg’s DWI
August 19, 2014
MADD supports government officials, regardless of political affiliation, who take drunk driving seriously. At the same time, we are dismayed each time we hear someone has made the choice to drive drunk – especially those we hold to a higher standard, such as elected officials. Drunk driving is 100% preventable and completely unacceptable, no matter the person behind the wheel, their profession or political party.
In the specific case involving Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, MADD Texas publicly expressed disappointment with her actions, and we are grateful that no one was injured or killed. We reiterate that sentiment in light of recent events. Following her sentence, Mrs. Lehmberg offered a monetary donation to MADD Texas, which was accepted and used specifically to serve victims of drunk driving in Texas.
Just like last year's events now being re-played in the media, we want to steer clear of the politics and focus the story on the importance of making the safe choice to designate a non-drinking driver if alcohol is involved.