The MADD Help Line, 1-877-MADD-HELP, is available 24/7 for victims and survivors of drunk and drugged driving crashes because of dedicated volunteers—volunteers like JD Dunphy.
In 2011, a drunk driver, nearly three times over the legal limit driving on the wrong side of the highway, hit JD’s granddaughter, Taylyn, head on. She was on her way home from a restaurant where she was celebrating her 22nd birthday with friends. Although she was pronounced dead at the scene, his granddaughter was revived in the helicopter transporting her to the hospital. She was in a coma for a month, in the hospital for 7 months and has had 24 surgeries to date.
After the crash, JD was compelled to get involved. Now, he’s been volunteering for MADD for close to three years, and for two years he has been taking calls on the Help Line from victims around the country on Saturdays and Sundays.
Through his Help Line experience, JD says he has learned that drunk and drugged driving crashes are much more widespread and devastating to families than he ever realized. He says that the real truth is that each crash can affect hundreds of people; almost 400 people came out to support his granddaughter at an event after her crash.
“Most of us watch the news and see a tragedy and then change the channel,” JD says. “It really hit home with my granddaughter’s crash how devastating, widespread and all-encompassing it is. The mental, emotional and financial effect on family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances is huge.”
When he speaks to people on the Help Line, he says the most important thing he wants people to know is that MADD can help. When people need counseling, help with funeral expenses, information about hiring an attorney or what their rights are, a MADD Victim Advocate will work to try to find those resources and provide that information.
JD says that he has come to realize that so many people just don’t know where to turn, and when they get someone who will listen and who cares about them, they are so thankful. And we are thankful for volunteers like JD.
Click here to learn more about the Victim/Survivor Help Line and MADD Victim Services. To be put in touch with a MADD Victim Advocate in your area or if you need to speak with someone as soon as possible, call MADD's Victim/Survivor Help Line at 1-877-MADD-HELP (877-623-3435) or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I had the opportunity to attend the Lifesavers Conference in Chicago last week. Nearly 2,000 state and local highway safety officials, police officers and other first responders, private and non-profit program providers, students, academicians and others gathered to focus on safety.
The topics were great and so were the speakers. And, there were more than eighty workshops from which to choose. The variety of subject matter meant there was something for everyone. The issues presented and discussed were current and relevant. Each one that I attended was engaging and enlightening. In addition, I served as the moderator for victim impact panel.
The opportunity to listen to and meet NHTSA Administrator Mark R. Rosekind, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton—a 30-year advocate for Illinois traffic safety legislative advancements, National Safety Council President & CEO Deborah Hersman and other agency and industry representatives was exciting.
It was also special to meet so many of our "lifesavers”—the men and women who, each day, go out and keep our country safe, educate others, teach our children, keep us out of harm’s way, and so much more. I was honored to be in their presence and see first-hand how committed they are.
This is a conference not to be missed—I was proud to represent MADD and humbled to be in the audience of all those individuals that make our lives safer.
There are a lot of ways to get rid of a used vehicle, but only one way that can help keep your loved ones safer on the roadways. Check out our new video about MADD’s One Good Turn vehicle donation program to learn more:
By donating an unwanted car, truck or boat to MADD, you’ll support our mission to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes, and prevent underage drinking. It’s a great way to make a big impact with just a little effort.
Call our car donation program toll-free 1-855-GIV-MADD (855-448-6233) or visit carsformadd.org to get started today!
By Kenya James, a member of MADD’s National Teen Influencer Group
Encouragement is inspiration that enlightens others to pursue success or motivate them to keep pushing toward a goal to be achieved. It is the gas that drives your mind into helping others celebrate their good doings. For my purpose, it is encouraging my peers, underage teenagers, to continuously push through peer pressure, temptation, and any other factors that try to hinder the message that underage alcohol usage is very dangerous, and it can harm one’s brain development.
A teenager is exposed to a variety of pressures, and I appreciate the people that are still keeping their commitment to not drink under the age of 21. I love the idea of encouraging and rewarding people that help make this choice, so I invite these people to different enjoyable events as a safe haven.
My current SADD group entitled “Jackets Against Destructive Decisions” gives teenagers an outlet to have fun, but keep that commitment. We normally have a Homecoming after party with games, music, and fun to allow those people to still have a good time without the involvement of alcohol. The reason I do this is to let my peers know that they are not alone and that there are always others making right decisions among the wrong.
I also display my affection for the families that are greatly impacted by the tragic events of drinking and driving. I do this by participating in MADD’s Walk Like MADD event and encouraging others to walk with me. Walking side by side makes a statement that we are going to stand for what we believe and hope it spreads like wildfire.
I love sharing encouragement, so I am active in SADD and MADD to encourage youth to keep going strong in making healthy decisions—the Power of You(th). We have influence, and will someday change the word.
Denham Springs High School
Denham Springs, LA
This morning on the Today Show, NBC News Investigative Correspondent Jeff Rossen highlighted drunk drivers with multiple DUI convictions, and the state laws that make it easier for those offenders to continually threaten public safety. MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church was interviewed for the segment, speaking to the deadly and lasting impact created by drunk driving; what can and should be done to stop it; and MADD’s top legislative priority – ignition interlocks.
“Drunk driving kills over 10,000 people every year, and MADD needs everyone’s help to ensure a world of No More Victims™,” said Sheehey-Church. “I urge you join our call to stop these senseless tragedies.”
24 states currently have all offender ignition interlock laws in place. New Jersey’s legislature recently passed an all offender ignition interlock bill, and Governor Christie has until March 22nd to sign it into law. California, Maryland, Minnesota and Texas have all offender ignition interlock bills in consideration in their current state legislative sessions. California’s bill is pending a senate public safety committee hearing vote on March 24th. Please click here to email your lawmakers in support of these, and other lifesaving measures.
The Today Show also traveled to Denver for the story, highlighting Colorado as one of five remaining states in the U.S. without a felony DUI law for repeat offenders. Colorado Resident Ellie Phipps, a victim of a repeat drunk driver, was featured in the story. Ellie works with MADD Colorado to testify before the state legislature and participate in media interviews, sharing her story of being severely injured by a repeat offender in order to bring attention to Colorado’s desperate need for a felony DUI law.
Ellie’s fellow Colorado residents can help out by contacting their local lawmakers and urging them to support HB 1043 by voting in favor of felony DUI legislation for repeat offenders in the current legislative session.
MADD commends the Today Show for casting a spotlight on the violent crime of drunk driving.