September 15 through October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month, a time to honor and celebrate the culture, traditions and many achievements that Hispanic-Americans have contributed to our great nation.
Driving drunk is a problem that affects people of all races. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Hispanics have the second highest rate of drinking and driving incidents and are more likely than other groups to ride in vehicles operated by drivers who have been drinking. Research also shows that 90 percent of Hispanics see drunk driving as a major threat to the safety of themselves and their families.
In short, drunk driving does not discriminate—it kills and injures people of all races and culture.
We strive to reach out to diverse populations to fulfill our mission to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime and prevent underage drinking. Please visit our Spanish language resource center for links to programs, brochures and other services/materials available in Spanish at madd.org/espanol.
Yesterday, MADD National President Jan Withers visited with members of the United States Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee. We’re happy to announce that the Senate version of the proposed FY 2012 Department of Transportation budget includes funding for advanced alcohol detection research, which promises to one day turn cars into the cure. The measure, approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on September 21st, provides a total of $6 million for the ongoing DADSS (Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety) research program, $5 million above the proposed budget and $4.5 million more than the current fiscal year.
The DADSS program is a key element of MADD's Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® and is the result of a five-year, $10 million cooperative agreement between the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the world’s leading automakers, working through the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety. The project’s goal is to develop an inexpensive, publicly-supported and extremely accurate technology that passively senses if a driver is at or above the illegal limit of .08 BAC. If the driver is drunk, the DADSS technology would prevent the vehicle from starting.
A big debt of gratitude is owed to Chairman Patty Murray and Ranking Member Susan Collins for including this provision into the proposed transportation bill. To keep informed on legislative happenings like this,subscribe to receive legislative alerts.
The morning began cloudy with a brisk chilly breeze. That didn't stop walkers from turning out for Georgia's Walk Like MADD event in Atlanta. When asked why they came, why they walk, they said:
I walk to raise money for MADD - so we can continue the work of saving lives.
I come to support others who have been victimized by drunk driving.
I walk in memory of my loved one who was killed by a drunk driver.
I walk to bring awareness to this crime. It is unacceptable. It must stop.
I come to volunteer with my friends. We want a life without having to worry about drunk drivers.
I'm here because my grandparents brought me. It's fun! I love the moon bounce and the crafts. The hotdogs are good, too.
The morning was one of Friendship
and of All the Reasons Why We Walk.
Thank you State Farm for your generous support.
Mom Congress asked everyone to participate in their Back-to-School Blog-a-thon this week by writing a letter to their children as they start a new school year to tell them how they are going to make their school year the best it can be. Here is my letter to my daughter, Alisa.
I am writing to you, wishing I could be looking at you and holding your hands as I talk. I would tell you that everything I do centers around my love for you. I would tell you that you are the most important person in my life so your happiness and well-being is the most important thing in my life. I would tell you that because I love you I want you to be safe and healthy and alive. I would share with you information on why to avoid alcohol as a teen, such as how it can make you sick, lead to sexual assault, lead to early death, lead to alcoholism, not to mention it is illegal. I would want to hear your opinions about it. I would like to share with you some ways to help you make good choices. I would share with you clear guidelines and consequences, not because I want to be mean but because I want you to be healthy and safe. And I would tell you to never ride with someone who has been drinking – ever.
But, I can’t tell you any of those things. I am sure you thought it would never happen to you – that terrible things only happen to someone else. But you became that someone else when you rode with a friend who chose to drink and then drive. You became that someone who was killed. So, I sometimes joke that when I get to heaven to be with you…you are grounded for getting into that car! But, I won’t. Instead, I will just cry tears of joy to see you again and hug you and kiss you and hold you and tell you I have missed you and I love you so much.
I love you to ‘finity,
Children reciting names
Exclaiming love to eternity
Engraving names in granite
Fingers tenderly stroking a name
Hands gently laid on a name
Wishing they were caressing
Rose buds adorning stone
Tears falling on stone
Water falling over stone
I saw a widow of a person killed on 9/11 being interviewed last week, in anticipation of the ten-year anniversary of that dark day. As tears ran down her face while describing her husband and how much she misses him, the reporter asked with a bit of surprise, “It still hurts after all this time?”
Hurting just below the surface, after “all” this time, for a lifetime
Darkness eventually lifting
Sunshine and smiles happening again
Holding them in our hearts perpetually
Missing them without end
Loving them ceaselessly
My daughter, Alisa, was killed by a drunk driver. When she was a toddler, we used to say goodnight with these exchanges, “I love you sooo much.” “Well, I love you to the sky.” “Well, I love you to the clouds.” “I love you to the moon.” “I love you to heaven.” “Well, I love you past heaven.”
One night, little Alisa exclaimed, “Well, I love you to ‘finity!” I decided not to even try to top that! I was amazed she even knew the word infinity, let alone what it meant. So, that is now our family saying when we say goodbye to one another: “I love you to ‘finity.”
As we say their names, let us shout, I LOVE YOU TO ‘FINITY!