MADD comes out in support of California Law Enforcement

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the 2016 California Statewide Law Enforcement and Community Recognition Luncheon at the Town & Country Resort & Convention Center in San Diego.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the California Office of Traffic Safety honored more than 400 law enforcement officers, highway patrol members and first responders for their relentless work to keep drunk and drugged drivers off the California roadways. They hailed from across the state from Alameda to Los Angeles to Walnut Creek.

Among the speakers were Escondido Police Chief Craig Carter, who also is President of the San Diego County Police Chief’s and Sheriff’s Association, as well as Operations Deputy Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety Randy Weisman, and MADD San Diego Executive Director Steve Lykins. Former MADD National Board Member and retired California Highway Patrol Officer Robert ”Skip” Carter served as the Master of Ceremonies.

I also had the opportunity to speak for MADD National and express our extreme gratitude for the efforts of the law enforcement officers who are working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This seemed an especially well-timed thank you, as California legislators are currently considering SB 1046, which will make ignition interlocks mandatory for all offenders. Currently, California only offers ignition interlock protection to residents in four counties.

No one understands the dangers of drunk driving more than the law enforcement officials. They stand up to protect us every day, even when it demands the ultimate sacerfice. For them especially, I urge you to contact your legislators in support of this life-saving bill. Learn more about this bill here. It was an honor to recognize these heroes.

I can easily say that I join the many others in the room that California Heroes are ……TODAY, TOMORROW AND ALWAYS. Thank you California Law Enforcement for your efforts to end drunk driving. Share on Twitter   Share on Facebook

It’s an honor for me to be the voice of thousands of victims and attend these gatherings around the country. Every year, law enforcement officers save thousands of lives.  With their continued efforts and ours at MADD, the hope is that one day, there will be NO MORE VICTIMS®. 

QUIZ: How BIG of a problem is drunk driving?

Voices of Victims: Nicole Swigert Moats

Nicole died right after graduation.

"It was the worst Father’s Day present my husband has ever received. Father’s day has never and will never be the same again," said Nicole's mother, Teresa Moats.

These are words from Theresa Moats when asked how the crash that occurred on Father’s Day, June 15, 2008 in Licking County, Ohio changed their lives.

Nicole Swigert Moats, 18, was headed home with four friends from the local movie theater. This particular movie theater was a popular hangout spot, so it was not unusual for Nicole and her friends to go to the movies often.

It was a little after midnight when the drunk driver crashed into the vehicle driven by Nicole’s friend. Nicole and two of her friends were killed and the other passenger sustained serious injuries. The offender was 2X's the legal limit and sentenced to 10 years for three counts of vehicular homicide and one count of vehicular assault.

Mr. and Mrs. Moats always taught their children about drinking and driving. In fact, in 7th grade Nicole completed a project that focused on the 10 important things in life. Number three was “don’t drink and drive.”

Mr. and Mrs. Moats appreciate the support MADD has given them and the mission to eliminate drunk driving.

“Nicole had a contagious personality, was a really good kid and never got into any trouble, worked two jobs in high school, and wanted to be a veterinarian once she completed college, “ said Teresa Moats when asked to describe how she remembers Nicole.  “I am against drinking and driving, always have been and always will be.”

Poll: How will we end drunk driving?

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Protect Against the 100 Deadly Days of Summer

Sunshine. No school. BBQs and swimsuits. 

With Memorial Day behind us, summer is officially here – and with it the “100 deadliest days” of the summer driving season, according to AAA, the automobile research and educational group.

6In the past five years, based on data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 1,022 people – or about 10 per day – died during the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

The summer is especially dangerous for teen drivers between the ages of 16 to 19, as more of them are driving. The average number of deaths climbs 16% over other times of the year, AAA shared in a CNN article.

What creates this spike in drunk driving, a 100% preventable crime?

Well, for one, more people are on the road. Think road trips and family vacations. Additionally, at least this year, low gasoline prices make it possible for more people to hit the road than in recent years. 

Finally, the 100 days includes popular drinking holidays like Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day.

Remember, if your summer includes alcohol, plan ahead. Designate a non-drinking driver, call a taxi or Uber, or take public transportation. 

If you’d like to share the gift of a safe ride home, here is a designated driver coupon you can share with your loved ones to let them know you will get them home safely.

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