MADD volunteers and staff have logged thousands of hours at state capitols across the nation advocating for ignition interlock laws for all drunk driving offenders ever since we launched the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® in 2006.
MADD knows these in-car devices save lives. To prove it, we did what MADD has done for more than 35 years — we examined the data.
What we found was startling: Ignition interlocks have prevented 1.77 million attempts by a driver to drive with an illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.
Because these drivers have already been convicted of drinking & driving at least once, the ignition interlock is installed with the understanding that they will not drink and drive again at any BAC level.
Yet, interlock-restricted drivers have been stopped nearly 12.7 million times with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .025 or higher.
These numbers highlight three facts at the core of MADD’s Campaign:
- Drunk driving offenders MUST be monitored before receiving unrestricted driving privileges.
- Simply trusting an offender to honor a license suspension does NOT protect the public.
- Ignition interlocks do what NO OTHER alcohol program can — block drunk drivers from starting their vehicles and using them as deadly weapons.
This report shows the alarming number of prevented drunk driving attempts — broken down by state — and recommends how every state can improve their ignition interlock laws to better protect the public from this completely preventable, violent crime.
Twenty-five states have ignition interlock laws that apply to all drunk driving offenders. States like Arizona and West Virginia have seen a reduction in drunk driving fatalities of 50 and 40 percent — reductions that are unheard of in traffic safety.
MADD will continue to evaluate and push for stronger laws in every state so more offenders will use interlocks.
In the 25 states that don’t have all-offender ignition interlock laws, MADD calls on legislators to pass these lifesaving laws this year. With nearly 10,000 people killed every year as a result of drunk driving, we must act now to create a nation of No More Victims®.
Read the report here and talk to your legislators about enacting all-offender ignition interlock laws.
My life changed forever one day before Valentine’s Day, four days before a trip to my future sister-in-law’s bridal shower, 11 days before a second trip to Las Vegas with my husband, and two months before my brother-in-law’s wedding.
On the afternoon of February 13, 2011, a drunk driver ran a stop sign, crashing broadside into my car, resulting in non-displaced fractures. I spent a little more than eight weeks in a neck brace 24/7. I was both angry and terrified, yet, I also felt fortunate. I survived. I “walked” away from injuries that should have killed or paralyzed me. I still suffer from changed sleep patterns and anxiety, and there are some activities I can no longer participate in.
But I survived.
The offender received a sentence of 30 days in jail, 45 days mandatory in-patient rehab and 10 years’ probation. The sentence brought me peace. At the hearing, I told him what he had done – what he’d ripped away from me. I began the healing process.
I have since come to understand that victims of violent crimes can remain stuck in that moment of confrontation. It becomes too easy to allow that moment to consume you and define you. But that’s just another victory for the drunk.
I realized, if I didn't want that moment to so completely define my life, I must move forward. That meant letting go of whatever negative emotions I held in. With the support of my victim advocate, Suzette, and by attending support groups, I’ve been able to let go and move forward. I hope that by sharing my story with others, they can do the same.
Imagine kicking off your Super Bowl 50 celebration with a private dinner with one of the National Football League’s top Tight Ends followed by an exclusive, private tour of San Francisco?
You don’t have to imagine.
One lucky person and two of their friends will win #DinnerWithDelanie and an Uber tour of his San Francisco spots with Tennessee Titan Tight End Delanie Walker. To enter, simply sign MADD’s pledge to play the Most Valuable Position in the NFL: The Designated Driver. Visit www.MADD.org/SB50.
MADD, through its partnerships with the NFL and Uber, is working to keep the Super Bowl safe by asking people to plan ahead to have a designated driver.
Sadly, four years ago, Delanie Walker lost two of his strongest supporters – his aunt and uncle – to a drunk driving crash after playing in the 2008 Super Bowl for the San Francisco 49ers. Like thousands of other people, it only took a split second for a reckless decision to irrevocably change his life forever. Nearly 10,000 people are killed in drunk driving crashes every year.
Designating a driver BEFORE the party is one way to lower those statistics and prevent another tragedy.
The winner will be randomly selected from pledges and announced at a press conference in San Francisco on Thursday, Feb. 4th. One fan and their lucky friends will claim their prize that evening.
Let’s make Super Bowl 50 the safest one yet!
What is it going to take to keep repeat drunk driving offenders off the roads?
A lot more than one conviction for “operating under the influence,” or OUI, according to Registered Motor Vehicle data for Massachusetts obtained by Fox25 Investigates.
The numbers are startling.
Tens of thousands of Massachusetts drivers did not get the message after the first conviction. The data shows that more than 45,000 drivers in the state have three or more OUI convictions. More than 2,500 drivers have more than five. In fact, one driver in the state had 21 convictions.
Ignoring the law has deadly consequences. Previous efforts to punish offenders centered on taking away a first-time offenders drivers’ license, something many repeat offenders simply ignore. A proposed new law would change that.
MADD, along with AAA, supports Senate Bill 1895 by Sen. James Timilty of Walpole, which requires first-time offenders to install ignition interlock devices (IID) in their cars. The device necessitates that the driver blows into a breathalyzer before the vehicle will start. Currently, state law in Massachusetts requires such a device after the second offense.
Requiring interlocks for all offenders will save lives. Oregon, Arizona, Louisiana, and New Mexico have all seen their drunk driving deaths drop by more than 30 percent after all-offender interlock laws were passed. CDC research finds reductions in repeat offenses of about two-thirds due to interlocks.
Does your state have an all-offender interlock law? Find out here.
New alcohol advertising guidelines, based on findings by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, could dramatically reduce the number of alcohol ads viewed by children – if advertisers follow them.
The new report, published in the January issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, found that our youth were exposed more than 15 billion times to alcohol ads on television – mostly on cable networks – between 2005 and 2012.
That means that about one in eight alcohol commercials were seen by children. No, make that absorbed by children. Not to mention these occurrences were already not in compliance with the alcohol industry’s previous self-regulatory advertising guidelines.
These commercials painted a picture of alcohol as fun and frivolous that children couldn’t help but take in, sending a dangerous and deadly message to our kids. Have no doubt, these ads played a role in shaping attitudes toward drinking and contributed to the number of underage drinkers and underage drunk drivers.
Underage drinking kills more than 4,300 people under the age of 21 annually, making it one of the top three leading causes of death in this age group. Study after study (14 reports, in fact) have concluded that alcohol advertisements play a role in the decision to drink by kids. It makes them more likely to drink and, if people under 21 years old already drink, it makes them more likely to drink even more.
The paper also outlines new standards for ad placement, often called a “no-buy” list, which would address almost all non-compliance issues – if advertisers chose to follow them more closely than the previous guidelines. These guidelines won’t end underage drinking, bottom line, but the new recommendations will have an impact if advertisers see the sense and cents in following them.
MADD’s Power of Parents® program gives parents the tools to start ongoing and intentional conversations with their kids about alcohol. If you see one of these alcohol advertisements on a program that your child watches, take the opportunity to have a discussion with them about the real consequences of drinking underage. If you need help getting started, download our parent handbook for tips and tricks on tackling this difficult subject at home.
On November 24, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its annual report on traffic fatalities for 2014 with promising news: For only the second time, the number of drunk driving deaths in America dropped below 10,000 in 2014.
According to NHTSA, 9,967 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes in 2014, down from 10,076 in 2013. The only other time the number of drunk driving deaths dropped below 10,000 was in 2011.
While the drop in overall fatalities is welcome news, we still have a long way to go to create a future of No More Victims. When NHTSA released its annual report, it warned that early indications show drunk driving fatalities are on the rise in 2015. The data for 2015 will be released at the end of 2016.
As a nation, we must do more to prevent these tragedies.
MADD launched the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving in 2006 as a blueprint to end this completely preventable crime. The three-pronged approach:
- Supports high-visibility law enforcement such as sobriety checkpoints
- Advocates for all-ignition interlock laws for in all 50 states
- Champions the adoption of advanced alcohol detecting technology, as an optional factory-installed safety feature in new vehicles — a program called Driver Alcohol Detection for Safety System (DADSS).
Since the Campaign began, drunk driving deaths have dropped 26 percent. We continue to support our law enforcement heroes, and DADSS just received funding assurances from Congress through 2020. We are proud of these accomplishments!
MADD also applauds the 26 states that have passed all-offender ignition interlock laws. Arizona, which passed its law in 2007, has reduced drunk driving fatalities by 50 percent. Other states have experienced a 30 to 40 percent reduction.
But we want to see these encouraging results in every state. This year, MADD calls on the 24 states that don’t have an all-offender ignition interlock law to take action to protect their residents and visitors.
MADD’s tagline says it all — No More Victims. While we are encouraged by the decrease in drunk driving fatalities, it’s important to stay laser-focused on finally celebrating a day when not one family is touched by someone else’s careless decision to drink and drive.
The 2016 Walk Like MADD season is here and we can’t wait for you to walk with us. Walk Like MADD is the only large-scale, community-based activity that provides those personally impacted by drunk driving, and their network of supporters and friends, the opportunity to take steps to end drunk driving in their community and nationwide. Walk Like MADD is our signature fundraising event to help us raise both awareness and funds to eliminate drunk driving.
This year, twenty thousand people in over 85 cities across the nation participated, and together, we raised over $3.2 million dollars to provide our programs and services to victims at no cost. With every step taken and each dollar raised, walkers are supporting MADD’s lifesaving mission to keep our families and communities safe.
Walk Like MADD is your chance to do something about drunk driving in your community. Take up the fight by joining us at one of our 90 Walk Like MADD events in 2016. Click here to find the Walk Like MADD event closest to you!
You can help MADD eliminate drunk driving by signing up for a Walk Like MADD event near you as a walker, team captain, sponsor, or volunteer. Every dollar raised puts us one step closer to ending drunk driving once and for all. We need your help to create a world where drunk drinking ends, and lives don’t. Take the first step to end drunk driving by registering for a walk near you.
Don’t have a Walk near you? More than 30 Walk Like MADD events put on each year across the nation are run entirely by volunteers who want to make an impact in the fight against drunk driving in their community. If you are interested in learning more about starting a Walk Like MADD event near you, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today, we can see a future without drunk driving, but we need your help to get there. Please join us in the fight and walk to end drunk driving.
Your support is greatly appreciated.
Learning to live again is killing me ~ Garth Brooks
Bright lights, tall trees, family, and laughter -- Such words are often associated with celebrating the holidays. As a child, I could only dream of the next time I would see a Christmas tree or gather with loved ones to open presents, bake treats, and stay up all night.
When I was six years old, the motorcycle my brother was riding on was hit by a drunk driver. He left home on a cool November night, and never returned. Instead, 5 days later, on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1982, our parents made the decision to take Hector off life support. The Holidays would never be the same again, and Thanksgiving became just another day. Our mother could not handle setting a table with an empty chair, or breaking down every time we began to talk about what we were thankful for. Year after year, we also stopped celebrating Christmas. Our traditions were lost. I remember thinking, but too afraid to say the words out loud, what about the rest of your children?
When I went away to college, 12 years later, I looked forward to coming home and baking pecan pies with my parents for Thanksgiving. Yet the memory of gathering around the dinner table, remembering my brother, is still distant. In fact, it was a topic we continued to avoid.
Thirty three years ago, our family lost its joy at the hands of a drunk driver. We did not know how to live while a piece of our heart was missing. Three decades later, we still haven’t learned to celebrate his short life. But we have chosen to honor our son, father, brother, uncle, and friend by living and by doing things that seem normal to everyone else that we couldn’t do before.
Writing about my brother Hector is my therapy and doing so helps me on my continued journey of healing and adjusting to my new normal of him not being here. It is just another way of keeping his memory alive by sharing his story that I hope helps others.
-Olga M. Hickman, Ph.D
Yesterday, officials reported that 19-year-old Ethan Couch was detained in Mexico with his mother. For our statement on his capture, click here. An international manhunt began earlier this month after the teenager’s probation officer was allegedly unable to contact him.
This case enraged the nation. How could someone, who was convicted of causing a crash that killed four and left another passenger paralyzed, walk away with only probation? The defense council successfully argued that their client suffered from “affluenza” – an inability to understand the consequences of one's actions because of financial privilege.
Unfortunately, while this case caught the nation’s attention, it’s far from rare. Every day, MADD supports victims who all too often don’t find justice in a justice system set up to protect defendants, not victims.
In reality, this case just brought to the forefront a reality that so many victims face every day. So how do we fight “affluenza”?
We get mad. Or rather MADD.
We need people like you to speak up and say that drunk driving is unacceptable no matter how rich you are. We need advocates who want to push for laws that require judges to hold drunk driving offenders accountable. We need financial support to ensure that we can place a victim advocate in every courtroom, providing emotional support to families and ensuring that their voices are heard.
Are you MADD? Join us as we work to create a future of No More Victims™. Help us Fight "Affluenza".
By Dr. Gloria Horsley, an internationally known grief expert and author. Gloria is the founder of the Open to Hope foundation.
This New Year may be a good time to declutter your grief: clean out that junk drawer of behavior and rid yourself of obstacles that might be keeping you from moving forward. It may be a time to ask yourself, “am I doing the things that make me happy or am I supporting others in dealing with their grief?” How we grieve is a personal as well as a community activity. We grieve the way we live. If prior to our loss we were a saver or a hoarder that may be the way we deal with our loss. Some people like to keep things tidy and have the philosophy that if you are not using it give it away. Others cherish lots of reminders like mom’s knickknacks and dad’s coin collection. There is no right or wrong way to grieve and there is not closure to grief; it is just that sometimes we make concessions that go contrary to our desires to move forward along our healing journey. If you are doing things that once worked, but no longer do, it may be a time to consider de-cluttering your grief.
Below is an assessment of your readiness and/or willingness to declutter:
1. Am I being true to my feelings?
2. Am I letting others know what my needs are?
3. Am I able to tell love ones that old behaviors are no longer working for me”?
4. Am I willing to allow myself to break outdated promises?
5. Am I willing to accept that loved ones may be angry with me?
6. Am I willing to compromise?
If you are able to answer the majority of these questions with a strong “yes” then you are on your way to a more peaceful and joyful existence, one with less stress and clutter. You were born to be joyful and happy. Use the New Year as an opportunity to again find meaning and purpose in your life. Please visit us often at www.Opentohope.com for more help and advice on finding hope after loss.
All states and the federal government have passed laws that establish rights for victims. These laws require that victims have certain information, protections and a limited role in the criminal justice process. Laws and rights may vary by state and may have different levels of rights. Victims’ rights may depend on the laws of the jurisdiction where the crime is investigated and prosecuted such as state, federal or tribal government or military installation.
A victim is defined as anyone who has been directly harmed or impacted by a crime, such as drunk or drugged driving. It’s important that victims and survivors of substance impaired driving crashes, as well as the advocates working with them be aware and knowledgeable of the rights afforded to them. These rights are personally held by the victim that can be legally asserted during the criminal justice process. Independent legal representation is critical to making these rights meaningful.
Per the National Crime Victim Law Institute, victims have the right to be reasonably protected from the accused; the right to reasonable, accurate and time notice of court proceedings; not to be excluded; to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding; to confer with the attorney for the government; to full and timely restitution; to proceedings free from unrealistic delay and to be treated with fairness and with respect for their dignity and privacy.
For more information of victims’ rights and how to advocate for them or for yourself if you have been impacted by crime such as substance impaired driving, please visit the National Crime Victim Law Institute website, www.ncvli.org. For additional information about victim’s rights, please visit The National Center for Victims of Crime website, www.victimsofcrime.org.
Take the Pledge: Get Home Safe for the Holidays
The holiday season is well underway, and with it comes family, friends, and festivities. But it can also be a dangerous time of the year, with people toasting and celebrating, and then getting behind the wheel.
In fact, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve in 2014, in the U.S., 945 lives were lost in drunk driving crashes.
That’s why Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is teaming up with Uber Maryland to encourage people in the DMV—and beyond—to use a safe, reliable alternative to getting behind the wheel. And we find our driver-partners share this same commitment of helping to keep drunk drivers off the road.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Do your part this holiday season by taking a pledge to not drink and drive. Tweet your pledge from December 16-21, and a $1 donation will be given to MADD.
P.S. UberEVENTS and MADD are also teaming up nationwide to ensure there’s a safe way home for partygoers. Learn more about how you can offer safe rides to your guests this holiday season.
Uber will donate $1.00 USD to MADD for each person who tweets their pledge between December 16, 2015 – December 21, 2015 to @MADDOnline and either @Uber_DC, with a $1,000 maximum donation. Learn more about MADD at www.madd.org.
MADD’s mission is to eliminate drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of this violent crime and prevent underage drinking. If you or someone you love has been affected by a drunk driver, MADD is here to help. Services are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year through our help line 877.MADD.HELP.
This week the National Institute on Drug Abuse released the 2015 Monitoring the Future report which follows the dangerous issue of underage drinking and drug use.
MADD is encouraged to see that teen alcohol use continued to show a significant decrease. In 2015, teen alcohol use declined in all grades surveyed (8th, 10th and 12th grades).
More highlights from the report:
• Binge drinking (five or more drinks in a row within the past two weeks) is now 17% among 12th grade students, down from 19% percent in 2014.
• In 2015, 38% of 12th grade students said that they have been drunk in the past year, compared to 41% in 2014, and 52% in 2001.
• Past-month use of alcohol was 10%, 22%, and 35% of 8th, 10th and 12th graders, respectively, compared to 5 years ago, with rates at 14%, 29%, and 41% percent in 2010.
Even though progress is being made, the percent of teens drinking underage is still unacceptable. 40% of 12th graders have reported being drunk in the past year. And each year, almost 4,700 people are killed as a result of underage drinking. Even one life is too many!
With MADD’s underage drinking prevention programs, we’re confident that MADD can and will empower school-aged youth to make smart, healthy choices about alcohol before they turn 21.
Research shows that children are weighing the pros and cons of drinking alcohol as early as age 8, and evolve those perceptions through age 21. That’s why MADD urges parents to talk early and talk often with their children about the dangers of underage drinking. With the support of Nationwide Insurance, MADD’s Power of Parents equips parents of high school and middle school aged children with the tools they need to have intentional, ongoing and effective conversations.
MADD’s Power of You(th) program, made possible thanks to State Farm Insurance, is about empowering teens – individually and in groups – to influence each other, younger kids and even adults to take a stand against underage drinking, and to never ride with an impaired driver.
Parents can learn how to have intentional ongoing conversations with their children by downloading MADD’s free Power of Parents handbook. And teens can learn how to take a stand against underage drinking and influence their peers with the free Power of You(th) handbook.
Just like our efforts to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving and serve the victims of these violent crimes, the prevention of underage drinking plays a crucial role in creating a future of No More Victims™.
The holiday season is here! While the season brings celebrations with family and friends – it also brings an increased number of festivities that may include alcohol. At MADD, we want to make sure everyone’s holiday ends in cheerfulness, not tragedy.
As MADD’s longest-running public awareness campaign, Tie One On For Safety asks adults to display a red ribbon on their vehicles to remind others to plan ahead and designate a non-drinking driver before holiday celebrations begin.
This season, MADD and Nationwide, National Presenting Sponsor of Tie One On For Safety, conducted a new online survey showing the growth of designated drivers throughout MADD’s 35 year history.
Here are some encouraging results:
- 75% of respondents say they have been a designated driver in the past year, showing significant growth from 1989, when 35% of participants in a Roper survey reported being a designated driver.
- Women were slightly more likely to serve as a designated driver (76.92% women vs. 71.87% men).
- 8 out of 10 males (81.58%), aged 21-34 have served as a designated driver.
- 71% of respondents have used a designated driver in the past 12 months, an increase of nearly 10 percent from 2013, when 63% of adults surveyed in a 2013 MADD public opinion survey said a designated driver had driven them home.
- 94% of respondents said that a designated driver is a person who hasn't been drinking at all.
We also surveyed respondents on their attitudes towards using rideshare services, like Uber, as a designated driver:
- Just a few years after these services launched, 23% of respondents already associate the term “designated driver” with ridesharing.
- 31% of respondents under the age of 30 reported using a rideshare service to get home after drinking.
- Nearly half (48.7%) of respondents aged 21-34 stated that rideshare services were very valuable or extremely valuable.
To encourage partygoers to designate a non-drinking driver and plan ahead for a safe ride home, MADD and Uber are teaming up to make it easy for party hosts to purchase Uber rides for their guests.
Today through January 1, Uber will donate $10 to MADD for every ride home purchased through UberEVENTS+MADD. Whether it’s a company holiday party, or a family dinner – UberEVENTS allows for party hosts to secure their guests a safe and reliable way home. Learn more at UberEVENTS+MADD!
Be the hostess with the mostest - give your guests the gift of safety with UberEVENTS+MADD!
For most of us, the holidays are a time of happiness. It’s a time to gather with family and friends we haven’t seen in a while and to enjoy the time spent together. This is what most of us look forward to when the holidays draw nearer. For victims and survivors of substance impaired driving crashes, and for those who have lost a loved one due to impaired driving, the holidays may be a time of sadness. Many instead find ways to honor their loved ones, or themselves, during the holidays, to not let memories be lost in the hustle and bustle of the season. There are many ways victims and survivors are honored by their loved ones, not just during the holiday season but year round.
For Juan De La Garza, he has found many ways to honor his sister, Alejandra Vega De la Garza, who was killed while riding in a vehicle with her husband who had been drinking on January 12, 2014. This is the family’s second Christmas without Alejandra and they now have new traditions around the holidays to honor her. They put up a memory tree and decorate it with ornaments that remind them of Alejandra. They share memories of Alejandra and also release balloons in her honor. They share her story at the local Christmas parade and enter a float in her honor. Juan has been able to turn this tragedy into something good by using Alejandra’s story to motivate and educate others about the dangers of drinking and driving. Juan shared that being to tell Alejandra’s story to others is the best way he can continue to honor Alejandra, not just during the holidays, but year round.
Janakae Toinette Sargent was 20 years old when she was hit by a drunk driver while she herself was serving as the designated driver for some college friends on November 12, 2006. She later died and her mother, Kandi, buried her daughter the day before Thanksgiving. Kandi said it was the first of many family traditions that would be forever changed. Kandi shared that finding ways to cope with daily life has been hard but coping through the holidays is challenging at best. At the beginning to honor Janakae, Kandi would put up a Christmas tree each year at Janakae’s gravesite and ask family and friends to place ornaments throughout the holiday season. This continued for five years; they now honor Janakae with a balloon release that is held every year on Janakae’s “angelversary” and another one on her birthday, January 22nd.
Cathy DeWitt’s son, Cody DeWitt, was killed December 24, 2011 while riding with an impaired driver. The car Cody was riding in struck a tree and he and another passenger were killed. Cathy honors her son in many ways, year round. She admits that sometimes she tries to block out Christmas. She has found peace in visiting some of Cody’s favorite places such as a nearby creek, dam where he enjoyed fishing as well as his grandparent’s home where he spent a majority of his time. Cathy shared that leaving a sunflower at his favorite places brings her peace and is part of her healing. She also honors Cody by lighting a candle at the crash site each year while leaving a sunflower and also placing one at the cemetery. Cody was born November 10th at 5:04 a.m. Cathy celebrates Cody’s birthday by making a brownie, lighting a candle and at exactly 5:04 a.m., wishes her son a Happy Birthday.
Silina Kelshaw, 17, was killed in June 2002 when the van she was riding in with her family was hit by an impaired driver who ran a stop sign. Silina was just a few weeks from graduating. Pam, Silina’s mother, shared that the holidays, birthdays, crash dates, are all difficult for her, her husband Chris, and Silina’s brother, Avery. They each honor Silina in a different way. Pam shares Silina’s story every chance she gets by speaking at Victim Impact Panels for MADD. This is her biggest honor. Mother’s Day is also a special time for Pam. She spends part of the day visiting Silina’s gravesite and talking with her. Chris, Silina’s father, visits her gravesite each Father’s Day and shares this special time with his daughter as well. Their son Avery visits his sister’s gravesite on his own as often as time allows. On Silina’s birthday, April 13th, the family gathers together at her gravesite to celebrate her day. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, there is a place set for Silina at the table. For Avery too, if he is not able to make it home for the holidays. Silina’s favorite color was blue. Avery purchased an ornament of an angel wearing a light blue dress the family hangs on the Christmas tree together every year. Pam shared they will always be a family of four and each special occasion, holiday or anniversary, there is a place set at the table for everyone.
While the holiday season can be a difficult time for victims and survivors of substance impaired driving crashes, it is our hope that they can also be a time to honor loved ones taken away from us too soon as well as honored, as these families have shared.
2015 was a good year for Walk Like MADD. We raised to date over $3.16 million dollars and welcomed more than 21,500 participants and 2000 teams to participate in events in 82 cities across the country. We are thankful to all the staff, volunteers, sponsors and participants who worked tirelessly on events focused on ending drunk driving.
In addition to raising revenue, which in turn helps us provide continued programs and victim services at no cost to families, we focused our attention on establishing a meaningful and impactful event experience. Walk Like MADD provides the venue to rally the support of every day citizens and help put an end to drunk driving. Our goal was to have walkers remember what or who brought them to the event, feel inspired to work alongside MADD to solve the problem and be empowered to make a commitment to do even more to end drunk driving once and for all.
Here are a few pictures that represent how Walk Like MADD was able to turn tragedy into triumph.
Sam Riney, a police officer for the city of Alton in Illinois, was on duty December 19, 2005 (the week before Christmas) when his squad car was hit head on by a repeat impaired driver.
Sam sustained severe physical injures including a brain injury known as brain shearing. He was not expected to recover from the brain injury and doctors predicted he would not have a meaningful recovery and that he would be permanently disabled, requiring total care.
The crash occurred two days after Sam’s birthday and a week before Christmas. His wife, Kate, was pregnant with their first child at the time and they were looking forward to celebrating Sam’s birthday and Christmas. Celebrations that year would have to be put on hold. Instead of celebrating the holidays with family and friends, Sam was recovering from brain surgery. His prognosis was very poor and he wasn’t expected to recover. This was extremely difficult for them to deal with. Kate shared this took an emotional toll on them at what was supposed to be a very happy time for them – Sam’s birthday, the Christmas holiday and the arrival of their first child. Instead, that Christmas was spent in the ICU waiting area. There was no celebration.
Sam’s offender was charged with aggravated DUI conviction, driving on a suspended license and driving while uninsured. He and his passengers suffered only minor injuries in the crash that forever changed Sam and Kate’s life.
Sam did recover. After six months of rehabilitation and another six months of light duty, Sam was able to return to full duty as a patrol officer.
Once Sam was home and healthy, they had a “Christmas in July” sort of celebration at home to thank their family for all of their support throughout the injury and recovery.
Although the crash affects their life every day, Kate and Sam try not to think about. For them, continuing to relive the tragedy would only give the offender’s actions more power. Instead, they do what they can to educate others. Kate speaks at Victim Impact Panels for MADD, sharing Sam’s story and how that day changed their lives. Sam is a strong advocate in his professional work as a police officer fur DUI enforcement. He was honored by MADD and the State of Illinois for his efforts in DUI enforcement.
Drunk driving deaths drop below 10,000 for first time since 2011
Today, MADD learned that the number of drunk driving fatalities on our nation’s roadways dropped below 10,000 for the first time since 2011. According to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 9,967 fatalities involving an alcohol impaired driver in 2014 (compared to 10,076 in 2013), accounting for 31 percent of all traffic fatalities. Yet NHTSA also noted that overall traffic deaths for the first half of 2015 are up as much as 8.1 percent. This is troubling, especially given that the holiday season is upon us, one of the most dangerous times of the year for drunk driving.
While the 2014 decline in drunk driving fatalities is welcome news, there is still much to be done to create a future of No More VictimsTM. As a nation, we must stop these senseless tragedies.
Today, MADD issues a national call to action and challenges every state to pass all-offender ignition interlock laws and improve existing laws to ensure all offenders use an ignition interlock as soon as possible after a drunk driving offense. Ignition interlock laws are a key feature of MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®. Since the Campaign was launched in 2006, drunk driving deaths are down by 26 percent. The newly released NHTSA data shows a continued decline in states with ignition interlock laws; such as Arizona, which has experienced a 50 percent reduction in drunk driving fatalities since its law passed in 2007. Drunk driving fatalities in West Virginia have dropped 40 percent since 2008; and other states – such as Oregon, Washington and Hawaii – have had reductions of 25 to 33 percent.
MADD also encourages every law enforcement agency to participate in NHTSA’s upcoming Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign to increase enforcement during the holidays. Law enforcement plays a pivotal role in preventing drunk driving, and MADD applauds their tireless work to protect the public during the holidays and year-round.
The public can also plan ahead for a safe ride home this holiday season and show their support for law enforcement by participating in MADD’s Tie One On For Safety® campaign. For more information, visit madd.org/toofs.
Recently, several high-profile news articles have brought new attention to underage drinking. In Washington, D.C., a local high school principle sent an email to parents imploring them to not provide alcohol to underage students. Also in Washington, a former high school quarterback was charged with vehicular manslaughter after leaving a house party where a seemingly knowing parent allowed underage drinking to occur. And finally, a ballot initiative was just filed in California to lower the drinking age from 21.
MADD is committed to the health and safety of our young people. We applaud Walt Whitman High School Principal Alan Goodwin for taking a stand and encouraging parents to stop underage drinking. Parents are the biggest influence on their children, and this program will help keep your child safe, and we have proven tools like the Power of Parents that can help.
MADD takes our mission to prevent underage drinking seriously, and we want to remind parents and teens that the consequences of underage drinking can be devastating. The 21 minimum drinking age is one of the most researched and reviewed public health laws in our country. Recent studies show that the adolescent brain is continuing to develop until young people reach their mid-twenties. It is important that we continue to support the 21 drinking age to keep our children safe and healthy.
Underage drinking is an adult problem. In order for those under 21 to obtain alcohol, an adult somewhere must break the law. For parents who provide or permit underage drinking in their home, the episode in Washington is stark reminder of the consequences. Not only was the father given a citation of $5,000, which could have been $60,000, but two young people lost their lives. All of this is 100 percent preventable.
Some parents still believe that “all kids drink underage” and that “it’s safer under my watchful eye.” After all, Europeans drink at age 18 and their society is flourishing, right? These three myths couldn’t be further from the truth.
The truth is, the majority of teens don’t drink. In fact, less than 30 percent of teens have had a drink in the past month. And only 20 percent of teens binge drink. So, not everyone is doing it! Research proves it’s never safe to let children drink.
And when teens feel they have their parents’ approval to drink alcohol, they tend to drink more — and more often — outside the home. What seemed harmless at first often results in tragic consequences that even parents don’t anticipate.
Finally, in Europe, young people have higher intoxication rates than in the United States, and less than a quarter had lower or equivalent rates to the United States. Also, a greater percentage of young people in a majority of Europe report binge drinking at higher rates than their U.S counterparts. Most European youth have higher rates of alcohol-related problems because of their heavy drinking.
MADD continues to speak out about the dangers of underage drinking. We have made too much progress to see effective laws like the 21 drinking age discarded. We encourage you to support the 21 drinking age and talk to your kids about the dangers of underage drinking. Together, we can make a difference and end underage drinking.
Parental influence is the most important factor in helping keep kids safe, and MADD’s Power of Parents® program focuses on educating parents and caregivers about the dangers of underage drinking, and provides them the tools they need to talk with their kids about alcohol. Visit madd.org/powerofparents to download our Parent Handbook and get tips and tools to help you have this lifesaving conversation about alcohol with your kids.
We are excited to announce MADD’s “2015 Legislators of the Year” — 70 lawmakers across the country honored for their steadfast commitment to saving lives and advancing MADD’s ultimate goal — creating a nation of No More Victims.
In Congress, U.S. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey advocated for ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenders, one of MADD’s top legislative priorities as part of our Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving launched in 2006.
MADD National Board of Directors Vice Chairman Steven Benvenisti, Esq., a lifelong New Jersey resident who was almost killed by a drunk driver while in college, presents a Legislator of the Year award to Senator Booker at his office in Newark.
Other legislative champions:
Senator Jimmy Hickey authored SB 81 and SB 877. Representative Sue Scott Authored HB 877 and Representative Mary Hickerson authored SB 81. Both of these measures were signed by the Governor improving the state’s all-offender ignition interlock law.
Senator Jerry Hill authored SB 61, which extends the end date of the four-county interlock pilot program until July 2017. These counties include: Alameda, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Tulare.
MADD California presents Sen. Jerry Hill with a 2015 Legislator of the Year award on Tuesday.
From left: Program Manager Aaron Wade, Program Coordinator Domenica Cardenas, Bay Area Program Director Natasha Thomas, Senator Hill, California resident Mary Klotzbach, who is a member of the MADD National Board of Directors, and Tom Klotzbach.
Representatives Beth McCann and Lori Saine, along with Senators John Cooke and Mike Johnston, authored legislation which makes a fourth DUI a felony. Thanks to their efforts, Colorado is the 46th state to enact a DUI felony law. The law allows judges to order ignition interlocks for up to five years for second-time offenders. MADD also proudly recognizes Representatives Rhonda Fields and Polly Lawrence, who serve as Victim Rights Caucus Chairs. MADD appreciates the leadership of these lawmakers to advance victim rights.
MADD Awards 2015 80—Rep. Lori Saine presents a pen that was used to sign Felony DUI and an official legislative tribute to Chris Citron, who advocated for the law (with Fran Lanzer).
MADD Awards 2015 77—MADD Colorado Executive Director Fran Lanzer with Legislators of the Year Rep. Beth McCann, Deb Grenzke, Chris Citron, Sen. John Cooke, Geoff Grenzke, Sen. Mike Johnston, Rep. Lori Saine, Frank Martinez.
MADD Awards 2015 75—MADD Colorado Executive Director Fran Lanzer presents Legislator of the Year awards to Rep. Rhonda Fields and Rep. Polly Lawrence.
Representative Tom Rice authored HB 205, which creates a first-time offender interlock law. The legislation is pending in Committee ahead of the 2016 session.
The state’s all-offender interlock law went into effect in 2009, but lawmakers remain focused on making sure the law is working by taking much-needed improvements. Representatives Barbara Wheeler, Ron Sandack, and John Anthony authored HB 3533, which requires the use of ignition interlocks for five years for all repeat offenders. Representative Elaine Nekritz authored HB 1446, which requires fourth-time offenders to use an interlock for the rest of their lives. Senator Steve Stadelman authored SB 627, which allows any first-time offender to go on an interlock immediately after revocation, as opposed to waiting 30 days. MADD also recognizes Secretary of State Jesse White for convening a working group of stakeholders to make these recommendations, and for his efforts to enforce the law and stop drunk driving. MADD thanks Representative John D'Amico for supporting HB 3533, HB 1446 and SB 627.
Senator Dennis Kruse authored SB 444, which would require the use of an ignition interlock for convicted drunk drivers who drove intoxicated with a child passenger in the vehicle.
Lael Hill, Victim Services Specialist with MADD Indiana, presents Indiana Sen. Dennis Kruse with a MADD 2015 Legislator of the Year award.
Representative Sandy Salmon authored HB 186, which would create an all-offender interlock law in Iowa.
Representative Dennis Keene and Senator McGarvey authored legislation requiring ignition interlocks for all repeat offenders, refusals, cases of child endangerment and first-time offenders with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or greater. The new law went into effect earlier this year.
Senator Julie Raque Adams authored legislation that would have eliminated the option for DUI Shock probation, which allows drunk drivers who cause fatal crashes to have multiple-year sentences reduced to days. Senator Dennis Parrett authored legislation that would have extended the amount of time a DUI offense remains on an offender’s record from five to 10 years.
Delegate Ben Kramer authored legislation creating an all-offender interlock law. MADD hopes lawmakers advance the legislation in 2016.
Senator James E. Timilty authored all-offender interlock legislation, SB 1895. The bill is pending in the legislative process.
Mary Kate DePamphilis, Program Manager for MADD Massachusetts,
presenting a 2015 Legislator of the Year award to Senator James Timilty last week
Senator Tonya Schuitmaker authored SB 175 and SB 176, which would help ensure Michigan’s ignition interlock law is working to stop drunk drivers. Representative Klint Kesto authored similar legislation in the House (HB 4979, HB 4980, HB 4981)
Representative Kim Norton authored HF 1112, creating an all-offender interlock law. The legislation carries over into 2016.
Representative Caleb Jones and Senator Will Kraus championed SB 254. This new law allows the Department of Revenue to extend the period a motorist is required to maintain the ignition interlock device on his or her vehicle by three months if the ignition interlock detects an attempt to tamper with the device. This new law is critical in ensuring interlocked offenders have learned to driver sober.
Senator Nicholas Scutari authored all-offender interlock legislation S 385/A 1368. The legislation was championed by co-sponsors Assemblyman Ralph Caputo and Assemblyman Joseph Lagana.
Senator Torraco authored SB 499 creating extra penalties for driving drunk with a child passenger in a vehicle. Representative Pacheco authored HB 303 allowing for law enforcement to conduct no refusal activities.
These lawmakers coauthored legislation creating (HB 877/SB 619) creating an all-offender interlock law. The legislation is pending consideration in 2016. Legislative champions include: Senators Josh Stein and Buck Newton, along with Representatives Jonathan Jordan, Darren Jackson and John Faircloth.
Senator John Rafferty and Representative Keith Greiner authored SB 290/HB 278 requiring interlocks for all first-time offenders with a BAC of .10 or greater. The legislation passed the Senate and is pending in the House. Senator Lloyd Smucker co-sponsored SB 290 and also authored SB 839, which creates a DUI felony law for third-time offenders.
Senator Joel Lourie authored S 428, which would improve alcohol serving requirements. Senator Larry Martin authored S 428 relating to alcohol server training, S 178 improving field sobriety test requirements, and SB 590 improving the interlock law. Senator Brad Hutto authored S 465 and SB 590 improving the state’s ignition interlock law. Representative Rick Quinn authored H 3974 improving the ignition interlock law. Representative Ralph Norman authored H 3441 relating to DUI Video recording requirements so that more DUI arrest result in convictions. Representative Anne Thayer authored H 3169 improving South Carolina’s ignition interlock.
Thanks to the efforts of lawmakers, four new laws went into effect on July 1. HB0042/SB1315 by Representative William Lamberth and Senator Randy McNally requires that a person being convicted of vehicular assault or vehicular homicide serve a mandatory minimum sentence before being eligible for probation. HB0120/SB1316 by Representative Lamberth and Randy McNally creates a Class C Felony offense of aggravated vehicular assault, which is vehicular assault with certain aggravating factors (such as prior convictions for alcohol-related traffic offenses or a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or greater).
HB00045/SB0030 by Representative Dale Carr and Senator Doug Overbey requires a person who commits aggravated vehicular homicide on or after July 1, 2015, to serve 60 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming release eligible; provided, however, that the person must serve at least 45 percent of the sentence imposed after the sentence-reduction credits are applied.
HB1342/SB933 by Representative Terri Lynn Weaver and Senator Janice Bowling, clarifies that a deceased victim’s family has a right to have a photograph, determined by the court to be a reasonable depiction of the victim prior to the crime, be admitted during trial.
Representative Jason Villalba authored HB 2246 making Texas the 25th state to enact an all-offender interlock law. This new law was greatly helped by the leadership of Representative Senfronia Thompson and Speaker Joe Straus and by Senator Joan Huffman who carried the legislation in the Senate.
Senator Mike Padden authored legislation making a fourth DUI a felony. The legislation fell short in the House after passing twice in the Senate in 2015. MADD hopes it will make it to the Governor in 2016.
Representative Dave Heaton and Senator Van Wanggaard authored SB 222/AB 266, which if passed, improves Wisconsin interlock law. Representative Andre Jacque and Senator Roger Roth authored AB 43/SB 29, which allows for law enforcement to request search warrants from judges if a first-time offender refuses.
Representative Jim Ott authored many OWI reform measures including measures to: Criminalize first offense (AB 363, requires court appearances of OWI offenders (AB 352), mandatory minimums in injury crashes (AB 353), eliminate lookback period for second offenders (AB 444), third offense felony (AB 447), increase penalties for repeat offenders (AB 445), and AB 446 providing for mandatory minimums in fatal drunk driving crashes. Senator Alberta Darling authored legislation that requires court appearances of OWI offenders (AB 352), mandatory minimums in injury crashes (AB 353), eliminate lookback period for second offenders (AB 444), third-offense felony (AB 447), increase penalties for repeat offenders (AB 445), and AB 446 providing for mandatory minimums in fatal drunk driving crashes.
Representative Terese Berceau and Senator Tim Carpenter authored AB 363 criminalizing a first OWI offense.
Thank you to all these legislative champions for helping MADD improve laws across the country and ultimately save lives as a result. You can take action to help MADD advance lifesaving legislation by going to www.madd.org/takeaction. Every action you take helps us get one step closer to a future of No More Victims.