MADD Appoints Debbie Weir as Chief Executive Officer

We are excited to announce that Debbie Weir has been named MADD's new Chief Executive Officer.  Debbie joined MADD in 2002 as the Vice President of Victims Services, providing support and guidance to the MADD field and to drunk driving victims. Under her leadership, the number of victims MADD serves each year has more than doubled—now serving one victim every nine minutes. Debbie also created and launched the 1-877-MADD-HELP victim support line where specialists are available 24-hours-a-day to answer calls and provide emotional support.

In 2005, Debbie was promoted to Chief Operating Officer where she oversaw field operations, fundraising, volunteer and program development, in addition to victim advocacy and support.

"I am honored by the opportunity to lead MADD, which has achieved so much in changing the way our country looks at traffic fatality and injury prevention by showing that there are real people behind the statistics,” Debbie said.  "With a focus on advocating for proven data-based countermeasures, our staff and volunteers, some of whom are victims and survivors of drunk driving crashes, have helped save hundreds of thousands of lives, and our ongoing Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving and underage drinking prevention programs will help us save even more lives."

"Debbie knows the heart and soul of what makes MADD work," said MADD National President Jan Withers, who lost a 15-year-old daughter in a drunk driving/underage drinking crash and serves as the organization's principal spokesperson. "Her compassion and dedication to victims and to the pursuit of eliminating drunk driving fatalities are a perfect fit."

For more information you can read the full press release or Debbie’s bio.

Jan Harp Domene

It is with a heavy heart that we inform you of the sudden and unexpected passing of MADD National Board Member Jan Harp Domene, on Tuesday, February 28, 2012. Jan was a tireless advocate for children as well as a great champion for MADD, and the school district and city of Anaheim.

A veteran advocate for parent involvement in youth education and safety, Jan served as National PTA (Parent Teacher Association) President from 2007 to 2009. She lived in Anaheim, Calif., where she owned and operated Domene's Consulting, an event and party planning company.

During her years with PTA, Jan facilitated collaborative partnerships with many education, health, safety and child advocacy groups. As a mother and grandmother, Jan championed meaningful parent and family involvement as the most effective way to raise healthy, successful children.

Jan is survived by her husband, Greg, her three married children, five grandchildren and three foster grandchildren.   We offer the Domene family our deepest and most heartfelt condolences.  She will be greatly missed.  

National Governors’ Spouses Association Winter Meeting

Three out of four teens say that their parents are the number one influence on their decisions about alcohol. One in five teens admits to binge drinking, while only one in 100 parents believes their child binge drinks. These are astounding and revealing figures. They show that parents not only have the responsibility to talk with their children about the dangers of alcohol before age 21, they also have to power to influence their children’s decisions. How many times do parents say that their children’s peers have more influence on the teens’ behavior than they do? The research says otherwise!

Dr. Ralph Hingson, Starrla Penick, Jan Withers, Sally Ganem

Yesterday Dr. Ralph Hingson, Director of NIAAA, Starrla Penick, MADD National Program Director and I had the privilege to speak at the National Governors’ Spouses breakfast in Washington, DC. Sally Ganem, First Lady of Nebraska and MADD National Board Member, invited us to speak about underage drinking and MADD’s Power of Parents, It’s Your Influence program. We felt privileged to share a couple of hours with them on this important topic.

Dr. Ralph Hingson, Starrla Penick, Jan Withers, Sally Nebraska First Lady Sally Ganem & Dr. Ralph Hingson
Starrla Penick & Jan Withers

The Governors’ Spouses Association uses its unique positions of influence to work on life-changing issues. Their Leadership To Keep Children Alcohol Free Foundation, a unique coalition of current and former Governors' spouses, Federal agencies and public and private organizations, is an initiative to prevent the use of alcohol by children ages 9 to 15. I am excited about working together in connecting with parents around the country to share MADD’s Power of Parents life-saving program. 

 Mary Ann Taufa'asau Tulafono,  First Lady of American Samoa, is a strong advocate for underage drinking prevention programs.

Won’t you join us in spreading the message about the dangers of underage drinking, our Power of Parents program, and reach as many families as possible? Just click onto for more information and to download the simple booklet. Remember, three out of four teens say that their parents are the number one influence on their decisions about alcohol. 

Drunk driving featured on ESPN's Outside the Line

This Sunday, ESPN will air an episode of Outside the Lines (a program that examines critical issues in American sports on and off the field of play) focusing on the case of repeat drunk driving offender, Reggie Rogers.  Rogers was an All-American defensive end and a first round draft pick for the Detroit Lions.  

In 1988, Rogers ran a red light at 60 MPH and crashed his car into another vehicle, killing three teenagers.  Rogers was drunk behind the wheel, but he served less than 13 months in prison for negligent homicide.

Bob Willett, the father of Kenny Willett, who was killed in the crash, is an active volunteer for MADD Michigan, and is featured in the Outside the Lines episode.  View a preview of the episode featuring Bob Willett sharing his story of the night Kenny and his cousins were killed.

Rogers' first DUI arrest came while he was a football player for the University of Washington, and in the fall of 2011, Rogers was sentenced to one year in jail following his sixth DUI conviction.   

This episode of Outside the Lines airs Sunday, February 26, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. EST.

MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® calls for ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers in order to reduce this type of reckless recidivism. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ignition interlocks, on average, reduce drunk driving recidivism by 67 percent.

For more information about the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, visit

New Walk Like MADD Video

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