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Celebrating DADSS this Father’s Day

Earlier this month as part of our National Conference, we joined the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for the global unveiling of the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) test vehicle.

The DADSS technology will automatically detect when a driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above .08 - the legal limit in all 50 states - and prevent the car from moving.

Watch the video to learn more about DADSS:

DADSS is one of the three steps of MADD's Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®, which was launched in 2006 to bring about a quicker end to the leading cause of highway deaths. I am incredibly proud of the progress MADD and our partners have made in MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, through high visibility law enforcement, passing laws in 25 states that require drunk drivers to install ignition interlocks, and in helping to secure funding and support for DADSS.

We have worked every step of the way with our partners in the federal government, the auto industry, and Capitol Hill to get funding authorized and appropriated to ensure DADSS succeeds. And we will continue our efforts until DADSS is ready as a safety option for the marketplace.

While we still have a lot of work to do, we are closer than ever to eliminating drunk driving.

So this Father’s Day, join us in celebrating both Dads and DADSS by sharing the video and spreading the word about the importance of this lifesaving technology and the promise it holds for a future of No More Victims.


Make This a Father’s Day That Makes a Difference

By Skip Church, MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church’s husband and Dustin’s father

Father’s Day is a day that should be spent with your children, not with the tragic memories of your child being killed. But that’s what I’m left with because my son Dustin had his life taken away by a drunk and drugged driver. 

Whether it’s Father’s Day or any other day, there is always someone missing. There is always an empty chair at Thanksgiving. The smiles of Christmas morning are gone. And every family gathering is somehow diminished because our boy with red hair and freckles isn’t there to light up the room. 

It’s been almost eleven years since Dustin was killed and still, every day, I stir my morning coffee with a spoon he gave me.  My life will never be the same. 

Many of you who are victims understand that. But through MADD, you can make a difference for so many others. You can help make the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving more than a slogan.  You can make it a reality.  My wife Colleen, MADD’s National President, and I are trying to do just that in honor of our son Dustin.

While Colleen advocates for MADD’s mission across the country,  I work on getting lifesaving drunk driving legislation passed in our home state of Connecticut. My work ranges from testifying before committees, to meeting with State Senators and Representatives, to discussions with the Department of Motor Vehicles, Law Enforcement, States Attorneys and victims.

You can make a difference right where you are. You can show your support of law enforcement officers and the job they do in keeping drunk drivers off the road.  You can talk to the lawmakers in your state about supporting legislation that requires convicted drunk drivers to use an ignition interlock.  You can be part of a Walk Like MADDevent.  You can be there for someone whose loved one has died or been injured in drunk and drugged driving crashes.

You can turn your tragedy into something positive by becoming a MADD Difference Maker. Be an agent for change. It won’t bring back the one you lost or reverse the injuries sustained because of a drunk or drugged driver, but it may save someone else’s life.  Make this a Father’s Day that makes a difference.


Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving Breakfast

This morning we officially kicked off the 2015 National Conference with our Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® breakfast.

At the event, we shared a special video on the DADSS technology created from footage taken at the 35th Anniversary event on Thursday.


Please watch and share this video to help spread the word about the importance of this lifesaving technology.


Global Unveiling of DADSS Technology

To kick off MADD’s 35th Anniversary Conference in Washington, D.C., nearly 400 MADD volunteers and staff attended the global unveiling of the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) test vehicle on Thursday.

The Honorable Mark Rosekind, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, led the event and pledged support for development of in-car technology that will one day prevent a car from starting if the driver’s blood alcohol concentration is .08 or above. Senator Tom Udall and Representative Nita Lowey vowed to fight for continued funding of DADSS, a research partnership between NHTSA and an industry consortium to develop a touch-based and breath based technology that would one day be installed in new vehicles.

Victor Mendez, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation; Tom Udall, U.S Senator, New Mexico; Colleen Sheehey-Church, National President, Mothers Against Drunk Driving; Rob Strassburger, President & CEO, Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety; Mark Rosekind, Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

MADD attendees were able to view the test vehicle, which is equipped with mock-up DADDS technology that researchers will use to examine driver interactions with the system.

MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church reflected on the progress MADD and its partners have made in MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, through high visibility law enforcement, passing laws in 25 states that require drunk drivers to install ignition interlocks, and in helping to secure funding and support for DADSS.

“MADD is proud that we have worked every step of the way with our partners in the federal government, the auto industry, and Capitol Hill to get funding authorized and appropriated to ensure DADSS succeeds.  We will continue our efforts until DADSS is ready for the marketplace,” said MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church. “This is the future, when drunk drivers will be unable to drive their car. While we still have a lot of work to do, we are closer than ever to eliminating drunk driving and creating a future of No More Victims.”


Summer Travel Tips

While the first official day of summer isn’t until June 21st, with the weather getting warmer and the days getting longer many people are already making plans for family vacations and road trips. In fact, summer is one of the highest travel periods in the U.S., but it can also be one of the most dangerous times on our highways. So before you make any plans to head out on the road this summer, don’t forget to plan ahead for safety as well:

  • Don't Drive After Drinking – Every 52 minutes, someone in the United States dies in a drunk driving crash. Always plan ahead with a non-drinking driver.
  • Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. – Wearing a seatbelt is the best defense against any crash, including a drunk driving crash.
  • Check your Tire’s Air Pressure, Tread Wear, and Spare – NHTSA’s TireWise campaign can provide essential information about choosing and caring for tires.
  • Keep Children Safe In and Around Your Vehicle – Read NHTSA's child passenger safety recommendations to find out how to select and install the right car seat for your child. 

These tips were provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Check out NHTSA’s interactive Summer Driving Tips page for more information about staying safe on the roads this summer.


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