MADD is excited about the possibilities of self-driving vehicles. We support the development of advanced technology that will reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries on our roadways. Both the self-driving technology and the DADSS (Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety) technology, which automatically detects a driver’s blood alcohol concentration, hold tremendous promise for a safer tomorrow. We look forward to future advancements that will eventually eliminate drunk driving completely.
As families across the country get ready to kick off the summer and honor our military heroes this Memorial Day weekend, MADD urges motorists to stay safe on the road during a time of year when drunk driving deaths typically increase by designating a non-drinking driver and always wearing your seat belt.
In 2012, 165 people were killed in drunk driving crashes over Memorial Day weekend. These deaths accounted for 44 percent of all highway fatalities during the time period, compared to an average of 31 percent for the year as a whole.
Seat belt usage is one of the best ways to stay safe on our roadways, and one of the best ways to protect yourself from a drunk driver. That’s why this Memorial Day Weekend, law enforcement officers will be stepping up enforcement and cracking down for NHTSA’s 2013 Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign.
Regardless of the vehicle, seat belts save lives. In 2012, NHTSA statistics show that 21,667 occupants of passenger cars, trucks, vans and SUVs were killed in motor vehicle crashes nationwide—and 48 percent were NOT wearing seat belts at the time of the fatal crashes.
In 2012 alone, seat belts saved an estimated 12,174 people from dying. And from 2008 – 2012 seat belts saved nearly 63,000 lives.
So if your Memorial Day plans include alcohol, make sure to designate a non-drinking driver, and always buckle up!
Boating under the influence is just as dangerous as driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated, and just as illegal. So this summer, whether you’re on the road or water, always plan ahead with a non-drinking driver.
In honor of National Police Week, we wanted to share with you an article that was originally featured in the 2013 summer edition of MADDvocate about how trauma extends beyond just those directly impacted by a drunk driving crash.
It is a crash that still haunts firefighter Kevin Casey. A call came in over the radio dispatching them to the scene of a one-car crash. As the fire truck pulled onto the scene, he saw a mass of tangled metal that appeared to be a car at one point in time. A woman wanders away from the car. She’s so drunk that she can barely hold a conversation, let alone realize that her 18-month-old baby is screaming from the wreckage.
Somehow, the baby survived. But the images of that night remain.
“The ones that involve kids always stick with you,” Kevin shares. “You go home and hug your kids a little tighter and enjoy them a little more.”
After 12 years of witnessing other people’s tragedies, it all finally became too much for him.
His first marriage fell apart. Riddled with anxiety, he needed a break. So Kevin opted for a more conventional occupation—commercial real estate.
“I had just seen too much and lived through too much,” Kevin explains. “[I] needed to walk away from it for a while.”
Putting a name to It
It turns out Kevin isn’t alone. There is even a name for what he was experiencing—vicarious trauma.
Originally coined in the 1990s by Laurie Pearlman, Ph.D., and Lisa McCann, Ph.D., to refer to the experiences of psychotherapists working with trauma survivors, the term has since been expanded to include a wide range of individuals in “helping professions,” including first responders such as police, firefighters, paramedics and other emergency medical technicians. Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, MSW, founder and director of the Trauma Stewardship Institute, expands the definition, describing it as “the cumulative toll on individuals, organizations, institutions, movements, communities and society as a whole as a result of being exposed to suffering or trauma.”
Lipsky first became interested in vicarious trauma after she fell victim to its impact herself. After 10 years of doing various types of trauma work, she became increasingly affected by everything she’d witnessed. Others tried to bring their concerns to her attention. But Lipsky didn’t realize that she might need a break until she found herself at the top of a mountain on a family trip—while the rest of her family enjoyed the beauty of the view, she found herself wondering how many people had committed suicide from that very spot.
Yesterday, MADD National President Jan Withers testified before the Delaware House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee in support of ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. The committee then unanimously voted to advance the lifesaving legislation.
In 2012, 34 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in Delaware, representing 30 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state. These tragic deaths are 100 percent preventable.
Currently in Delaware, ignition interlocks are required for all repeat and first-time convicted drunk drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or greater. The proposed bill, HB 212, would strengthen the current law to require ignition interlocks for a period of at least four months for all first-time convicted drunk drivers with an illegal BAC of .08 or greater. It would also require offenders with a very high BAC on first offense and repeat offenders to use an interlock for longer periods.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), requiring or highly incentivizing interlocks for all offenders are proven effective to reducing drunk driving recidivism by 67 percent. Additionally, license suspension alone is no longer a practical way to deal with drunk drivers. Research shows that 50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers will continue to drive even with a suspended driver’s license. Ignition interlocks allow a convicted drunk driver to continue driving, but in a way that will protect families and other motorists and pedestrians.