Nassau County Cracks Down on Ignition Interlock Violations

Mothers Against Drunk Driving praises Nassau County for their recent two-week sweep that resulted in the arrest of 25 convicted drunk drivers who were in violation of court-ordered ignition interlock requirements. The Nassau County District Attorney’s Office and the Nassau County Department of Probation are a stellar example of a successful coordinated effort to enforce lifesaving laws requiring convicted drunk drivers to prove they are sober before their car will start.

According to the CDC, ignition interlocks have been proven effective in reducing repeat drunk driving offenses by 67 percent. Unfortunately, less than a quarter of all drunk driving offenders nationwide get ignition interlock devices, either due to lack of a law requiring the device or failure in the implementation of all offender interlock laws.

Laws requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers are a critical component of MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®. The recently signed federal transportation bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), fully endorsed MADD’s Campaign, in part by providing financial incentives to states that pass all-offender ignition interlock laws. Read the blog post about MAP-21 for more info.

Nassau County’s commitment to enforcing the state’s ignition interlock law will undoubtedly result in lives saved and injuries prevented, and MADD encourages other counties across the country to follow Nassau County’s lead, making sure that convicted drunk drivers are not endangering public safety by driving a vehicle without an interlock. 

Annual Survey of Currently-Installed Ignition Interlocks

Richard Roth, PhD, the Executive Director of Impact DWI, Inc., a community action and advocacy organization with the mission of reducing drunk driving and raising community awareness of the dangers of alcohol abuse in New Mexico, recently released the seventh annual survey of currently-installed ignition interlocks.  The survey is a compilation of data from the thirteen interlock companies and forty-three state sources in the US.

Highlights of the Report

  • There are approximately 279,000 interlocks-currently installed in the US.
  • Interlock installations have increased ~14% since last year.
  • Approximately 20% of those arrested for drunk driving (and about 28% of those convicted for drunk driving) are installing interlocks.
  • There are about nine currently-installed interlocks per 10,000 residents in the US.
  • Ten states have more than 9,000 currently-installed interlocks. Twenty eight states have fewer than 4,000.
  • The five states with the largest number of currently-installed interlocks are Texas, Washington, California, Colorado and Arizona.
  • The five states with the largest number of currently-installed interlocks per capita are New Mexico, Washington, Colorado, Alaska and Arizona.

Click here to read the complete report.

This is excellent progress for MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®,  which aims to require all drunk drivers to prove they are sober with ignition interlock devices before they can start their car.However, more remains to be done when less than a third of all drunk drivers have interlocks installed on their vehicles.  We need to pass ignition interlock laws in every state, and you can help by contacting your lawmakers.

Learn more about ignition interlocks here.

Cocktail Expression launch at Macy’s in Herald Square

This Saturday I was privileged to attend the launch of PVH Cocktail Expression ties at the famous Macy's in New York City's Herald Square. The ties are a rich combination of vivid colors woven into the fabric in designs taken from the actual molecular structure of various alcoholic beverages. The creations bear a message from MADD warning about the dangers of drinking and driving, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Creator Irwin Sternberg brought his enthusiasm and energy to the event. Designer Michael Mone, President of Harry Bacrach, Inc. and PVH Neckwear President David Sirkin were also present and committed to the day’s success. In addition, MADD New York volunteers and staff showed their dedication by attending in order to share information about MADD with customers. The information was well received and we were frequently thanked for what we do.

Upon arriving I was greeted with the beautiful smile of volunteer Peggy Lang. Later, during a quiet moment, she shared the story of her son, David Bareck, who was killed by a drunk driver. Her gentleness radiated to everyone around her and soon touched her friend upon arrival, volunteer Natacha Menzies, whose police officer husband, Andre, was killed by a drunk driver less than two years ago. Natacha brought her precious daughter, Victoria, who stole the day with her sweet, bright character. We were also joined by Tom McCoy, ED for MADD NY and Lissa Harris, Program Specialist with MADD NY. Mr. Sternberg invited our volunteers to autograph the back of each tie purchased, with a "thanks for your support." Little Victoria became our star with everyone coveting her perfectly penned signature.   

 David Serkin (PVH), Michael Mone, Irwin Sternberg, Jan Withers,
Natacha Menzies and Peggy Lang toasting the launch with non-alcoholic beverages
Natacha Menzies, Victoria Menzies, 
Peggy Lang and Jan Withers

In addition, a lovely woman, Tippi, whose daughter, Alexandra, was killed in 1994, stopped by with her husband. She connected immediately with Peggy Lang, and now plans to volunteer with MADD. Another gentleman, Doug Szulman, came specifically to the event to meet the MADD President. He wanted to personally tell me how much MADD has done for him and his family. He was critically injured when he was 19 years old by a drunk driver, calling those times the darkest moments of his life, and he continues to endure endless series of surgeries as a result. Prior to the crash, he had planned to go to medical school, but the physical rigors made that impossible. Instead, he was so inspired by the attorney who supported them that he also became an attorney. Now, he is in the process of writing a book about dealing with the tragedy over these many years titled, From the Bottom of the Pool, A Life Reconstructed. The book centers on how he travails upon being thrust into a chaos so young and the people he meets in finding his way back who give him the tools and insight to lead a productive, fulfilling life. I look forward to reading it once it is published. 

Jan and Doug Szulman Jan, Peggy Lang, Tippi and her husband

My dear husband, Joe, rode the train with me up to the Big Apple, sporting his Cocktail Tie from the original 1994 creations in honor of Mr. Irwin Sternberg’s earlier work. Irwin recognized it immediately and began telling stories from those days, along with his launch of the Jerry Garcia ties and their friendship. Naturally, Joe purchased a new tie and modeled it the entire day, but Natacha took the show, sporting a cocktail expression tie to match her exquisite dress.

The day was successful and fulfilling. I am so grateful for the support of Irwin Sternberg, PVH and Macy’s. The connections made on every level were heartwarming and invaluable. It is just another reminder that there are so many individuals who care about the work MADD is doing and so many who are grateful for what MADD has done for them.  

Training the FBI

This past Wednesday I was honored to join Lisa Spicknall, MADD Maryland Victim Advocate, in leading death notification training for some of America’s finest—the FBI’s Office of Victim Assistance. The Office for Victim Assistance is responsible for ensuring that victims of crimes investigated by the FBI are afforded the opportunity to receive the services and notification as required by federal law and the Attorney General Guidelines on Victim and Witness Assistance.

As too many of us know, the way someone finds out about the death of a loved one can cause even more trauma to an already unbearable situation. It is so important that the person tasked with delivering the worst possible news is as prepared as possible for this difficult situation. Even as it is traumatic, if an individual is notified by a knowledgeable and compassionate professional, that moment can actually become the first moment in his or her healing journey. If not, those moments can cause a lifetime of bitterness.

MADD works extensively with law enforcement to make sure they are prepared for those vital early interactions with someone in grief, including in-person death notification trainings that help give officers best practices to use as tools during these sensitive times.

Presenting a MADD death notification training to FBI victim services specialists was inspiring.  As we entered the room, Lisa and I noticed how well trained, experienced and professional the attendees were.  We were amazed at their experience, 150 years total. Several had extensive death notification training and most had done many notifications, yet they were hungry for knowledge. 

Of the 30 people in the room, we were touched by the life experiences shared and the losses that have touched them so profoundly.  One of the victim services specialist explained to us, with tears in her eyes, how she was not only on scene to notify victims of the Aurora, Colorado movie theater tragedy, but also the Wisconsin Sikh temple murders as well.  Yet, she was here to learn how she can do a better job of notifying families when a loved one has been murdered. 

As we spoke to the group you could see their body language shift when they felt they had done a good job and when they were uncomfortable with a job they had done.  When they reflected and discussed their thoughts on how and why we notify in the manner that we do, we could see the realization cross their faces that they felt they were better prepared to make notifications. 

Each death notification class is a humbling experience. We leave knowing we have helped people come to terms with one of the most difficult parts of their jobs.  No one wants to be the source of a family’s bereavement, but as the specialists left the room, our hope is they left with strategies to give a compassionate and thorough death notification.

New Cocktail Expressions Ties to Benefit MADD


A new, limited-edition collection of neckties to benefit Mothers Against Drunk Driving will be showing up in select Macy’s stores, thanks to Stonehenge Strategic Group, PVH and Macy’s.  The “Cocktail Expressions” collection features designs based on the molecular structure of popular alcoholic beverages as seen under a microscope—beer, wine, tequila, champagne, scotch, vodka, gin and tonic, kamikaze, bloody mary and screwdriver.  Each Cocktail Expressions tie bears a garment tag telling which alcoholic beverage the tie pattern represents and a message from MADD warning about the dangers of drinking and driving.  

These PVH-brand ties were created by Irwin Sternberg of Stonehenge Strategic Group, creator of the popular Jerry Garcia, Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis and other cause-related collections of neckwear.  Additionally, three percent of the net sales of the Cocktail Expressions ties, available exclusively at select Macy’s stores, will be donated to MADD.

The award-winning Cocktail Expressions collection of neckwear was first launched at the Macy’s flagship store in New York on August 9, 1994. Now, 18 years later, an all-new collection of ties is being launched to raise awareness about the dangers of drunk driving.

This is truly the only safe way to “tie one on” before driving.


  Select Macy's Stores:   
Herald Square 
Roosevelt Field
Garden City, NY
Fashion Ctr at Pentagon City
Washington DC
Tysons Corner Center
McLean, VA
Metro Center
Washington DC
Garden State Plaza
Paramus, NJ
Bethesda, MD
Mall in Columbia
Columbia, MD
Wayne, NJ
Queens Center
Queens, NY
San Francisco Union Square
San Francisco, CA
State Street
Chicago, IL
Miami, FL
 South Coast Plaza
Costa Mesa, CA
 Ross Park
Pittsburgh, PA
 Valley Fair
Santa Clara, CA
 Lenox Square
Atlanta, GA
Minnetonka, MN
 West County
St Louis, MO
Annapolis, MD
 Cherry Creek SC
Denver, CO
 Pleasanton Stoneridge
Pleasanton, CA
 Short Hills
Shorts Hill, NJ
 Northpark Center
Dallas, TX
 Staten Island
Staten Island, NY
 Kenwood Towne Centre
Cincinnati, OH
 Orlando Millenia
Orlando, FL
 Boca Raton Town Center
Boca Raton, FL
 Florida Mall
Orlando, FL
 Oxmoor Center
Louisville, KY
 Smith Haven
Lake Grove, NY

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