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MADD Celebrates Mississippi’s Passage of Lifesaving Ignition Interlock Legislation
By MADD | April 23, 2014 | Filed in: Drunk Driving

Today, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed into law a bill that requires any convicted drunk driver with a BAC of .08 or greater who obtains driving privileges during a license suspension to use an interlock for at least 90 days on a first-conviction and at least one year for repeat offenses.

MADD thanks Speaker Phillip Gunn (a victim of drunk driving, read his story here), Representative Andy Gipson, Senator Briggs Hopson, and Representative Kevin Horan for their leadership and commitment to the passage of this very important piece of legislation that will protect the public from drunk drivers.

When MADD launched the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® in 2006 only one state, New Mexico, required interlock for all convicted drunk drivers. Today, Mississippi joins 21 other states that have enacted these lifesaving laws. MADD has made ignition interlocks for all offenders its number one legislative priority.

Studies show that a first-time convicted drunk driver is not a first-time offender, but rather it is simply the first time they have been caught. In fact, first-time offenders have driven drunk an average of 80 times before they are convicted.

Requiring all convicted drunk drivers to use ignition interlocks to prove they are sober before they can start their vehicles has been shown to save lives and stop drunk driving. Arizona, Oregon, New Mexico and Louisiana, have seen a reduction in DUI deaths by 33 to 46 percent, largely due to these comprehensive laws requiring all drunk drivers to receive an interlock.

Not every state is protected by these lifesaving laws, so find out if your state requires ignition interlocks for all DUI offenders and take action.

Learn more about ignition interlocks and the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®.

21 Days in Support of 21
By MADD | April 1, 2014 | Filed in: Underage Drinking , Drunk Driving , Power of Parents

April is Alcohol Awareness Month—a month we use to highlight the dangers of underage drinking. This April, MADD is building up to PowerTalk 21, the national day for parents to talk with their teens about alcohol, with “21 days in support of 21.”

Each day in April until PowerTalk 21 day, MADD will host events across the country to create ongoing and intentional conversation about underage drinking, as well as share tips and stories to help parents prepare for the big day.  Click here to see the calendar of events.

Today, we kicked off the “21 days in support of 21” with a National Press event in Washington DC with Nationwide® to announce new data about the importance of talking with your teens about waiting until 21 to drink alcohol.  Click here to read more about this data.

MADD supports the 21 Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) because it saves lives, prevents injuries, and protects still-developing brains. More than 25,000 lives have been saved in the U.S. thanks to the 21 Minimum Legal Drinking Age. This law continues to prevent tragedies—decreasing crashes by an estimated 16 percent and keeping young people safer from many risks.

Click here to read more about the 21 Minimum Legal Drinking Age from a recent blog post, and click here to learn more about PowerTalk 21.

Make sure to check back daily for more information about each event of the “21 days in support of 21!”

Tragedy at South by Southwest
By MADD | March 13, 2014 | Filed in: Drunk Driving

We are heartbroken to hear about the horrifying alleged drunk driving incident at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, TX early this morning. A driver fleeing police reportedly drove through a crowd, killing two people and injuring more than 20 others. Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and their loved ones.

MADD offers 24/7 support for victims and survivors through our Victim Services Helpline at 877-MADD-HELP. Drunk driving is 100 percent preventable, yet each year another 10,000 people are killed and 345,000 are injured. Texas is one of 30 states that does not have an all-offender ignition interlock law for convicted drunk drivers.​

Don’t Press Your Luck this St. Patrick’s Day
By MADD | March 12, 2014 | Filed in: Drunk Driving

For many Americans, St. Patrick’s Day has become synonymous with drinking. Unfortunately, that means that drunk drivers have made the holiday very dangerous.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 269 people were killed by drunk drivers on St. Patrick’s Day over the years 2007-2011, and there were 45 people killed in 2011 alone.

The most tragic thing about these fatalities is that they were 100-percent preventable. Whether you are hanging out with friends at a pub after work or attending a local parade, make sure to also plan ahead with a non-drinking designated driver if your plans include alcohol.

You can help get your friend’s home safely this St. Patrick's Day—just Give the Gift of a Designated Driver® to someone you love.

Click here to send this ecard to your loved ones.

MADD wants you to enjoy the holiday, and get home safe. So remember:  don’t drink if you are under 21 years old, and never get behind the wheel impaired. 

Drunk School Bus Driver Sentenced to Just Five Days
By MADD | February 18, 2014 | Filed in: Drunk Driving

There are so many things parents worry about every day when it comes to their children, but the fear of the person entrusted to get them to school safely driving drunk should never be one of them.

A school bus driver in Columbus, Ohio, who pled guilty to misdemeanor charges of driving drunk and child endangerment, was recently sentenced to five days in jail. Yes, you read that right. Only five days for endangering the lives of elementary school children on their way home from school.

According to reports, in November, the Columbus police received a call that a school bus was driving erratically, and when they stopped the bus, they found an open bottle of whiskey and a driver with a BAC of .216—more than 3 times the legal limit. The students on the bus reportedly yelled out the windows, “She’s going to kill us! She’s going to kill us,” as they sped through the streets.

No child should ever be put in danger by someone who’s driving drunk, especially when that driver has been entrusted to keep them safe. At MADD, we believe that drunk driving is criminal and irresponsible, and driving drunk with a child passenger is a form of child abuse.

Fortunately in this case, no one was seriously injured, but only five days for risking the lives of innocent children is not an appropriate sentence and does not send the right message about the importance of our children’s safety.

States must act now to pass tougher laws and send a message that it is not ok to drive drunk, especially with a child in the car. Please email your representatives letting them know that you want a stronger DUI child endangerment law in your state.

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