Voices of Victims: Hannah Rebekah Morales

When Hannah Rebekah Morales entered a room, it lit up, not only from her smile and personality, but from her willingness to help and inspire others.  She was loved by her parents, family, teammates, friends, coaches, and really anyone she came into contact with. Hannah had a passion for sports ever since her mother could remember. Hannah’s connection to sports allowed her to travel and compete against teams across the country. Her parents found joy in watching their daughter play sports, and spent many hours traveling and cheering her on.

On December 31, 2015, Hannah went to a New Year’s Eve party with a group of friends. There was underage drinking at the party and even though people knew the driver had been drinking, they didn’t stop him from driving. At just 16 years old, Hannah was killed after being ejected from a vehicle driven by a driver with a BAC of .208, more than twice the legal limit. The driver survived the crash. He pled guilty to criminally negligent homicide, and was sentenced to 5 years of probation. Hannah’s parents were devastated by the courts decision, they believe that probation shouldn’t be an option when someone kills someone else in a drunk driving crash.  They continue to remain positive in honor of Hannah but would also like to see laws change to reflect the seriousness of the crime.

Hannah had never been in trouble in the past, her parents hadn’t had a reason to worry about what she was doing that night. Anita, Hannah’s mother, wishes she would have spoken to her daughter more about underage drinking, and encourages all parents to talk to their adolescents about the possible consequences. She believes drunk driving is a selfish act that is completely preventable. She hopes that Hannah’s story will prevent others from making the same mistakes and save lives.

This week, MADD shares PowerTalk 21, a day dedicated to creating intention, ongoing, and potentially lifesaving conversations between parents and kids about alochol. Join us to learn valuable strategies for how to talk with your child or teen about not drinking and not riding with a drinking driver.

LIVE with CEO Debbie Weir for PowerTalk 21

MADD CEO and parent of two Debbie Weir takes the PowerTalk 21® drinking myths quiz and shares key insights into some dangerous ideas about alcohol and kids. Take the quiz with us to be automatically entered to win an Amazon Echo, Kindle Fire HD, or one of two gift cards for a date night!

If you missed it, last week we learned more about parenting styles and how they influence a child's attitudes toward alcohol. Watch it now!

Maryland Joins with MADD by Becoming 26th State with Ignition Interlocks

The Maryland all-offender ignition interlock bill, dubbed Noah’s Law after Officer Noah Leotta, who was killed in December by a suspected repeat drunk driver, unanimously passed both Houses late Monday night, mere moments before the session ended for the year.

This historic piece of legislation, ignored and delayed for years, now heads to the Governor for his signature, which will make Maryland the 26th state in the country to require ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenders.

Noah Leotta’s parents dove into advocacy efforts, determined to prevent other parents from suffering from this 100% preventable crime. We thank them for their hard work.

We also recognize our tremendous partners in law enforcement, who stand in front of the danger to protect the rest of us, the Maryland legislators, who unanimously passed this lifesaving bill, and you! Your support of ignition interlocks, your letters and emails, your tweets and posts, your donations and volunteer hours – your actions made a real and recognizable difference. 

Today, we are safer thanks to you.

Now, after a long-fought battle, it’s not time to stand down. It’s time to step up.

Twenty-four states remain without this critical protection against repeat offenders. That’s where we move our attention, because our mission doesn’t end until drunk driving ends.

Our work continues this year in California, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Vermont, where lawmakers can send a strong message that they, too, want to protect their constituents from this horrific and violent crime. If you reside in one of these states, please consider sending a letter to your legislators here.

Join MADD and all people who believe in a future of No More Victims® today. Donate $50 in support of ignition interlocks in all 50 states. If you haven't read our first-of-its-kind, state-by-state Ignition Interlock Report, discover how this technology has already prevented more than 1.77 million drunk driving attempts.

Connect with MADD on Facebook to view more pictures from our efforts to get the Maryland bill enacted.

Road to Hope Paved With Love

At MADD, part of our mission is to support and assist those tragically impacted by drunk or drugged driving. Immediately after a crash, victims can feel lost and overwhelmed by grief or injury. We work to help them along their own healing journey. This year, as part of Crime Victims' Rights Week, we have created a virtual Road to Hope.

Road to Hope

The Road to Hope is built one virtual brick at a time. If you have someone to honor, simply fill out a brief form. Be sure to share your name (if you were injured) or the name of your loved one, along with a piece of advice or comfort you recieved that helped you move forward. Your words may help someone who is just a few steps behind you in their healing journey.

We kicked off the campaign Monday, and, already, some truly touching tributes have been shared. Diane Pinkerton's family shared how her family supported her after a crash.

A sentiment others shared, as well...

Other people used their brick almost like a note to a lost loved one, catching them up on how the family continues, depsite the tragic loss.

Shane's family is moving forward by helping others arrive home safely so fewer people suffer the same loss.

And Ashley's family now acts as her voice to tell her story.

While other bricks simply share love.

Keri Anne's family set a lofty goal, one they are working to achieve through social media, legislative advocacy, and participation in a Walk Like MADD event.

Many offered hope...hope for tomorrow...hope for healing...hope for a future with No More Victims®.

Please add your brick to the Road of Hope. The Road to Hope seems long and winding at times, but you are not alone. Join MADD and others in this healing journey, especially as we honor National Crime Victims' Rights Week.

Affluenza Teen receives 720 days after 1st adult court hearing

A Tarrant County adult court Judge – for now – gave Ethan Couch the present he deserves for his 19th birthday – the maximum amount of jail time. However, the defense team will have an opportunity in two weeks to plead their case for less or no jail time.

A Judge ordered four separate and consecutive 180 day terms, one for each count that he was convicted of which corresponds to each life lost. This is a small victory – but 720 days in jail is nothing compared to the life sentence the families he impacted face.

North Texas Executive Director Jason Derscheid spoke immediately after the hearing.

However, we’ll never say we ‘won’ this case, because no one ‘wins’ in drunk driving cases. Everybody has already lost. The victims and their families lost the day of the crash three years ago. 

Here is Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson speaking about Ethan's disposition in jail, where he is in solitary confinement 23 hours a day.

But the fight is not over. Couch’s defense team will be afforded the opportunity to come back in two weeks to argue against this sentence. Know that we will be there once again, to ensure that everything is being done to ensure justice for these families and for all families who have suffered to this 100% preventable crime.

We want to end by honoring the families who are hurting today by giving them hope and letting them know, you always have a place at MADD.

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