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Lifesavers 2015

I had the opportunity to attend the Lifesavers Conference in Chicago last week. Nearly 2,000 state and local highway safety officials, police officers and other first responders, private and non-profit program providers, students, academicians and others gathered to focus on safety.

The topics were great and so were the speakers. And, there were more than eighty workshops from which to choose. The variety of subject matter meant there was something for everyone. The issues presented and discussed were current and relevant. Each one that I attended was engaging and enlightening. In addition, I served as the moderator for victim impact panel.

The opportunity to listen to and meet NHTSA Administrator Mark R. Rosekind, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton—a 30-year advocate for Illinois traffic safety legislative advancements, National Safety Council President & CEO Deborah Hersman and other agency and industry representatives was exciting.

It was also special to meet so many of our "lifesavers”—the men and women who, each day, go out and keep our country safe, educate others, teach our children, keep us out of harm’s way, and so much more. I was honored to be in their presence and see first-hand how committed they are.

This is a conference not to be missed—I was proud to represent MADD and humbled to be in the audience of all those individuals that make our lives safer.


One Good Turn: a New Direction for Used Vehicles

There are a lot of ways to get rid of a used vehicle, but only one way that can help keep your loved ones safer on the roadways. Check out our new video about MADD’s One Good Turn vehicle donation program to learn more:

By donating an unwanted car, truck or boat to MADD, you’ll support our mission to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes, and prevent underage drinking. It’s a great way to make a big impact with just a little effort.

Call our car donation program toll-free 1-855-GIV-MADD (855-448-6233) or visit carsformadd.org to get started today!


Announcing New Partnership with the American Grandparents Association

After a drunk or drugged driving crash, grandparents are often left behind to pick up the pieces. And sometimes they even find themselves raising their grandchildren when a parent is killed, like Nina and Gary Walker, whose daughter Ginger was killed by a drunk driver at the age of 22 leaving behind her three-year-old son Shaye. The Walkers found themselves grieving the death of their daughter and helping their grandson cope at the same time.

The American Grandparents Association, the benefits organization of Grandparents.com, is joining forces with MADD to help eradicate these senseless deaths for their next generation of loved ones. Five dollars of the $15 annual American Grandparents Association membership dues paid by new and renewing MADD donors and supporters who join will go to help MADD save lives and serve victims of drunk and drugged driving.

The American Grandparents Association connects and nurtures America’s 70 million grandparents and their families, by giving them access to special benefits and information on topics that matter most—health, family, money and more.

Click here to learn more about this partnership.

MADD is privileged to work with both the American Grandparents Association and Grandparents.com, and we appreciate their support in helping us save lives and prevent injuries across the country.


Super Week

MADD had boots on the ground in Phoenix, Ariz. last week at Super Bowl XLIX’s media center. For the fifth straight year, MADD talked to media center attendees about the dangers of drunk driving, the importance of underage drinking prevention, and MADD’s partnership with the NFL. As one of just three non-profits onsite and amongst a backdrop of over a 1,000 media outlets, athletes, and celebrities, MADD’s coveted presence speaks to the NFL’s commitment to providing a safe environment for fans and supporting MADD’s mission.

MADD CEO Debbie Weir observed a notable increase in traffic and interest in MADD’s presence this year compared to previous years; most likely due to the timely distribution of MADD and Uber’s joint data report about the impact of rideshare services on drunk driving. Uber also launched a Super Bowl Sunday CRM program that donated $1 to MADD for every ride nationwide between 3 p.m. and midnight EST (3 hours before, during and after the game) for every rider that entered the promo code “THINKANDRIDE.” Additionally, MADD utilized new NHTSA 2013 holiday data to capture media and public attention.

“The fact that Super Bowl Sunday continually ranks as one of the worst days of the year for drunk driving always gets people’s attention,” said Weir. “While we were in Phoenix last week, newly available 2013 NHTSA holiday traffic data revealed half of all traffic fatalities on Super Bowl Sunday 2013 involved a drunk driver; making it the second deadliest holiday of the year. That really resonated with the media and public alike, and raised awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving.”

Bringing that story to life firsthand was none other than Tennessee Titan and MADD Volunteer Delanie Walker, whose aunt and uncle were killed by a drunk driver just hours after watching him play in 2013’s Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. They left behind seven children. Since then, Walker has given selflessly of his time to volunteer with MADD and prevent others from experiencing a similar tragedy. Delanie participated in more than a dozen media interviews in Phoenix, during which he shared his story and talked about the importance of planning ahead for a safe ride home.

“Delanie is such a down-to-earth, authentic and compassionate person,” Weir said. “When he speaks about his grief and the loss of his aunt and uncle to a completely preventable crime, he does so in a way that not only engages the audience, but also makes them want to do something about the issue. MADD could not have a better voice than Delanie Walker.”

Fans were also allowed onsite at the Super Bowl media center this year, resulting in increased involvement in MADD’s and NFL Player Engagement’s #SelfiesForSafety campaign. People from all walks of life and different parts of the country stopped by to pledge not to drink and drive.

MADD is proud to partner with the NFL and bring attention to our mission to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes, and prevent underage drinking.


Meet MADD’s New National President

Thirty-five years after a grieving mother started one of the most influential and effective grassroots movements in history, we’re pleased to announce our new National President, Colleen Sheehey-Church, the first victim of drugged driving to serve as MADD’s National President.

Colleen’s 18-year-old son, Dustin, drowned after the car he was riding in, driven by a teen with alcohol and drugs in her system, crashed into a river, trapping Dustin in the vehicle. She joined MADD a year later in 2005.  Read Dustin’s story here.

“No one ever dreams about becoming MADD’s National President, because it means that you have suffered the most unimaginable pain of a death or injury due to the preventable crime of drunk or drugged driving,” says Sheehey-Church. “I was drowning in grief after I lost my son, until I called MADD. I only wished I had called sooner. I’m honored and humbled to represent the victims we couldn’t save, stand alongside those we have and advocate to keep innocent lives safe on our nation’s roadways.”

Read Colleen’s first blog post as MADD’s National President.

Read Colleen’s bio.


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