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Statement on Michael Phelps Sentencing
By MADD | December 19, 2014 | Filed in: Drunk Driving

MADD is astonished and frustrated that Michael Phelps was not ordered to install ignition interlocks in his vehicles. This was well within the look back period of a repeat offense in Maryland. The judge in this case failed Maryland residents by not requiring this proven-effective, lifesaving device. When an ignition interlock is available as a sanction, it must be ordered every single time. It’s the single, most effective way to keep offenders from drinking and driving again.
Interlocks reduce repeat offenses by 67 percent according to research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In fact, MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving calls for all convicted drunk drivers to get an alcohol ignition interlock, even first time offenders. Several states have seen drunk driving deaths drop by more than 30 percent after all-offender interlock laws were passed.
While we are grateful that Michael Phelps is getting the help he needs, an ignition interlock would hold him accountable, not only to his own safety, but also the safety of others.

Make a #HoliDDay Plan
By MADD | December 19, 2014 | Filed in: Drunk Driving

Don’t let your holiday celebration end it tragedy, make a #holiDDay plan that includes a non-drinking designated driver. Share this image and tell us on social media using the hashtag #holiDDay, how you plan to celebrate the holidays safely:

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Even one too many drinks increases the risk of a crash—it’s just not worth it. So this #holiDDay season, and all year round, plan ahead for a safe way home, especially if your plans involve alcohol.

Additional resources:

Kicking off Tie One On For Safety with MADD Connecticut (Guest Blog)
By Guest Blogger | December 18, 2014 | Filed in: Drunk Driving

By Colleen Sheehey-Church, MADD President Elect

As snow was falling gently in Hartford, I joined MADD Connecticut to kick off the 28th annual Tie One On For Safety® campaign. I had a chance to speak at the news conference along with Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, Hartford Police Chief James Rovella, Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker, MADD Connecticut Executive Director Janice Heggie Margolis and several others.

The message from everyone was “don’t drink and drive.” It was heartwarming to know that there is a strong, consistent message from all those involved. It was also impressive to see law enforcement officers and first responders on hand to be recognized for the tremendous work they do on our roads.

One first responder, paramedic Donavan Alden, was specifically honored. In March of 2014, Donavan was killed by an alleged drunk driver as he was heading to work. His mother Ellen was there to ceremonially tie the first red ribbon on to an ambulance. The light snow falling couldn’t help me think of tiny frozen tears from the heavens in honor of Donavan.

The ribbons and magnets are part of MADD’s Tie One On For Safety campaign. They’re displayed to remind everyone to plan ahead and designate a non-drinking driver when going to celebrations this holiday season. It’s also a reminder that if you see someone driving drunk, call 911. Contact your local office to find out how to get a red ribbon for your car.

May each of you have a safe and joyous holiday season.

Drunk Driving Deaths Continue to Top 10,000
By MADD | December 16, 2014 | Filed in: Drunk Driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) just announced that while drunk driving deaths decreased last year, they once again topped 10,000.

While we’re thankful to see this number has gone down, that still means that 10,076 families are now left with an empty chair at the dinner table this holiday season... 10,076 people’s loved ones are left with broken hearts.

We are frustrated that we aren’t saving enough lives fast enough. Every single one of these deaths is preventable, and yet the nation seems to be complacent and even accepting of the fact that one out of three traffic deaths on the roads is caused by a drunk driver.

Since the launch of MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®, 24 states have passed an all offender ignition interlock law, and drunk driving deaths are down by more than 24 percent since 2006. The Campaign calls for more high visibility law enforcement through sobriety checkpoints, all convicted drunk drivers to use an ignition interlock device, and the development of advanced vehicle technology, like the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS), which could one day eliminate drunk driving completely. 

At the press conference today, MADD National President issued two national challenges out of MADD’s Campaign, both proven to effectively reduce drunk driving fatalities: sobriety checkpoints and ignition interlocks.

Click here to find out what lifesaving legislation – like ignition interlocks and sobriety checkpoints – MADD is spearheading in your state and take action.

We know that there is still much work to be done, and we won’t stop until there are no more drunk driving deaths... no more victims. I hope that you’ll stand with us until we achieve that goal.

With your help, we’re confident that we will see the end of drunk driving!

Please help raise awareness about the magnitude of tragedy drunk driving continues to cause by sharing this image with your social networks networks in honor of the 10,076 lives lost last year to this 100 percent preventable crime:


Tweet: 10,076 people were killed last year in drunk driving crashes. RT to help raise awareness.

The Holidays Look A Little Different Now
By MADD | December 12, 2014 | Filed in: Victim Services , Drunk Driving

When Bryan Kranek was just 17-years-old, his life changed in an instant. He was rollerblading home from a babysitting job when a man with a BAC of .266 driving in excess of 40 mph on a residential street hit Bryan from behind. 

“In the blink of an eye, twelve days of my life became nothing but stories from other people as to what happened,” Bryan says.

Bryan was knocked unconscious instantly. Witnesses said he flew onto the truck’s hood, smashed his head in the driver’s windshield and was thrown 10-15 feet in the air, landing on a neighbor’s driveway. Bryan sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and was rushed to the emergency room where he immediately went into surgery to relieve the swelling of his brain. 

When Bryan was released from the hospital 23 days later, he had to relearn the basics, like how to walk and talk. He spent several months in speech, occupational and physical therapy to relearn all of the things people often take for granted.  Bryan was determined to work hard in his recovery.

“Honestly, I didn’t know there was any other option,” he said.

Bryan, now in his late twenties, still hasn’t fully recovered from his TBI and as a result, the holidays look a little different for him. His favorite part of the holiday season is gathering together with his family at his grandmother’s house on Christmas Eve to celebrate.  “It is a lot of fun and everyone is jovial.” But Bryan knows that because of his injury, he often gets tired quickly and can’t always keep up with everyone else throughout the day. 

He copes with the stress of the holidays and his TBI by taking a time out when he needs to.

“I hit the reset button and rejuvenate myself,” he explains.

Bryan’s advice for other injured victims is to remember the importance of self-care during the holidays, since they can be an especially difficult time. 

One thing that Bryan says helps him is making the holidays about others not himself – something that Bryan does all year round as a speaker at MADD Victim Impact Panels, running TBI support groups and working with kids with special needs. 

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