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Celebrate Safely this Labor Day
By MADD | August 26, 2014 | Filed in: Drunk Driving

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:


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How's Your Defensive Driving IQ? (Guest Blog)
By Guest Blogger | August 22, 2014 | Filed in: Drunk Driving

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, 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.”

MADD Statement on Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg’s DWI
By MADD | August 19, 2014 | Filed in: Drunk Driving

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.

It Takes a Village
By MADD | August 12, 2014 | Filed in: Drunk Driving

Originally featured in the 2014 summer edition of MADDvocate®.

Walk Like MADD

MADD volunteers Bob and Kaye Walsh and Heather Geronemus are unstoppable. When it comes to organizing successful Walk Like MADD community fundraisers, they work like mad. The three agree it takes a village—committed volunteers, generous sponsors, walking and running enthusiasts, and a passion for saving lives—to get the job done.

Virginia Beach

In 1997, after their daughter Robin was killed by a repeat drunk driver, it took some time before Bob and Kaye would consider volunteering for MADD. Seven years later, they decided that they were ready and began speaking at MADD Victim Impact Panels (VIPs).

“Talking about Robin really helped.” Kaye says about her daughter. “If we changed one mind about drinking and driving, then it was worth our time.”

By 2010, this dynamic duo had shared their compelling message with thousands of Navy military personnel, high school and college students, and citizens of Virginia Beach. They’d spent countless hours answering the calls of victims.

Read more.

Fort Lauderdale

After observing a Walk Like MADD event in South Florida, it was no surprise when MADD volunteer and public relations professional Heather Geronemus was asked to chair Fort Lauderdale’s Walk the next year. With a successful track record in organizing fundraisers for other charities in the Fort Lauderdale/Miami area, Heather had some innovative ideas.

“We needed to change it up,” Heather says. That meant including a 5k run called the MADD Dash. And getting corporate sponsors involved. “We created a 5k run component, which attracts a lot of people because we have a robust running community. Our Walk event has something for everyone: runners, walkers, kids, award sfor the fastest runs and more,” Heather says. “MADD is here for everyone!”

When her father, Dr. Robert Geronemus, was struck and killed by a hit-and-run drunk driver in 2009, Heather wanted to do something to honor him. Organizing a MADD fundraiser in their hometown was the perfect fit.

Read more.


Delaware Governor Signs All-Offender Interlock Law
By MADD | August 7, 2014 | Filed in: Drunk Driving

Yesterday, Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed into law a bill that will protect families in Delaware by reducing drunk driving deaths.

The new law requires all drunk drivers convicted with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or greater to use an ignition interlock on their vehicle for at least four months. Offenders with a BAC of .15 or greater or who are repeat offenders would be required to go on the interlock for a longer period.

Previously, interlock devices were required only for first offenders arrested with a blood-alcohol concentration of .15 or higher or who refused to take a chemical test, and for repeat drunk drivers.

When MADD launched the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® in 2006 only one state, New Mexico, had interlock legislation for all offenders. Delaware joins Alabama, Mississippi, and New Hampshire, which also passed lifesaving legislation requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk driving offenders this year, bringing the total number of states with mandatory interlock laws to 24.

Similar laws enacted in other states have helped reduce drunk driving deaths. Since Arizona and Oregon implemented their interlock law, drunk driving deaths have decreased by 43 and 42 percent respectively. MADD has made ignition interlocks for all offenders our number one legislative priority because these devices save lives.

MADD applauds the leadership of Representatives Keeley and Smyk and Senate Majority Leader McBride, as well as all Delaware legislators for passing this lifesaving legislation.

For more information on interlocks, please visit

Delaware Governor Jack Markell signs HB-212 into law at AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Wilmington, Del. headquarters.  From left to right:  Jamie Nutter, Parkowski, Guerke & Swayze, P.A.; bill sponsor, Representative Helene M. Keeley, (D-3 Wilmington); Debbie Weir, CEO, MADD; Sharon W. Bryson, Deputy Director, NTSB; Marke Dickinson, Executive Vice President, AAA Mid-Atlantic; and Jack Dalton, Director at Coalition of Ignition Interlock Manufacturers


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