Advocating for better laws to protect our roadways from drunk drivers is one of the things MADD’s volunteers and field staff do best. MADD also needs dedicated legislators who are committed to safer roads and preventing the tragedies caused by drunk driving.
This year, MADD is recognizing 69 legislators from across the country for being true partners in our legislative efforts. These state legislators opened their doors to MADD volunteers and staff, listened to our stories and heard us when we said we must stop 10,000 people from being killed every year by drunk driving. They shared our message and they worked with us to save lives.
Some of MADD’s Legislators of the Year scored historic victories in their state capitols this year. In Maryland, for example, Delegate Ben Kramer and Senator Jamie Raskin led the General Assembly, along with Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo, to pass Noah’s Law — after six years being blocked by a stubborn committee chair. As a result, Maryland now has one of the strongest all-offender ignition interlock laws in the country. We celebrate Delegates Kramer and Fraser-Hidalgo and Senator Raskin as Legislators of the Year for refusing to give up on this life-saving legislation.
Other MADD Legislators of the Year faced roadblocks in winning support for their initiatives this year, but have committed to returning next year to continue the work they started. In Michigan, Representative Klint Kesto has been a MADD partner for several years on an ignition interlock law for all drunk driving offenders and work will continue in 2017. MADD sincerely appreciates Representative Kesto for his commitment to eliminating drunk driving. In California, Senator Jerry Hill worked tirelessly on a compromise with Governor Jerry Brown’s administration to expand California’s ignition interlock program and has committed to working with MADD in the future to make California’s law even stronger. MADD also has partnered for several years on drunk driving legislation with Wisconsin’s Representative André Jacque, who has pledged to help improve Wisconsin’s ignition interlock law.
MADD recognizes and thanks all of the Legislators of the Year who joined us in 2016 to further our mission to relegate drunk driving to the history books. We look forward to working with these champions in their respective Legislatures as we continue our march toward a nation with No More Victims.
The 2016 Legislators of the Year:
Senator Jerry Hill
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez
Representative Rhonda Fields
Representative Polly Lawrence
Senator John Cooke
Senator Mike Johnston
Representative Al Adinolfi
Representative Joe Aresimowicz
Representative Christie Carpino
Senator Eric Coleman
Senator Leonard Fasano
Representative Mary Fritz
Representative Stephen Harding
Senator Tony Hwang
Senator John Kissel
Representative Themis Klarides
Senator Martin Looney
Representative Rosa Rebimbas
Representative Richard Smith
Representative William Tong
Councilmember Mary Cheh
Senator David Simmons
Representative Scott Plakon
Representative Robert Cortes
Representative Katie Edwards
Representative Tom Rice
Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle
Representative Timothy Wesco
Delegate Ben Kramer
Senator Jamie Raskin
Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo
Senator James Timilty
Representative Klint Kesto
Senator Tonya Schuitmaker
Representative Patricia Willis
Representative Andy Gipson
Senator David Parker
Senator Sean Tindell
Representative Kevin Horan
Representative Caleb Jones
Senator George Amedore
Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas
Assemblyman John McDonald III
Assemblyman Dean Murray
Assemblyman David McDonough
Representative Gary Scherer
Senator John Rafferty
Representative Keith Greiner
Senator Stephen Archambault
Representative Gregg Amore
Representative Eddie Tallon
Senator Larry Martin
Senator John Stevens
Representative William Lamberth
Senator Randy McNally
Representative Mark White
Senator Mark Norris
Representative G.A. Hardaway
Representative Joe Pitts
Senator Kerry Roberts
Senator Doug Overbey
Representative Dale Carr
Representative Willem Jewett
Representative André Jacque
Senator Roger Roth
Senator Alberta Darling
Representative Jim Ott
Senator Van Wanggaard
Senator Chris Larson
You’ve just been hit by a person who appears to be intoxicated or impaired by drugs.
Perhaps you are injured or one of your loved ones is hurt. Maybe your mind hasn’t even processed what has just happened. And then it gets worse.
The alleged offender gets back in his or her vehicle and takes off.
What can you do? More importantly, what should you do?
Moments after a drunk driving crash, it’s important to take a few precautions for your own safety and that of any passengers.
1. Call the police – Call 911 to report the crash and all details pertaining to it, such as the:
- Number of injured persons and the severity of their injuries
- Number of vehicles involved and if the road is blocked
- If the other driver is impaired, report that information and that he is now fleeing the scene.
Be prepared to give a vehicle description to include color, make, model and license number. Do this even if it doesn’t appear to be major damage. This information will assist authorities in dispatching the appropriate resources for your crash and hopefully stopping and arresting the fleeing impaired driver.
2. Determine who is hurt and how badly – Don’t try to move people who may have neck or back injuries. If someone is bleeding and you have plastic gloves in your car, put them on and try to stop the bleeding by applying pressure.
3. Don’t engage with the drunk driver while they are on the scene – Write down the license plate or snap a picture with your phone. Take a picture of alleged offender as well if you have time but don't try to talk with an intoxicated person. Not only could it serve little purpose, but it also could be dangerous.
4. Don’t chase or attempt to stop the offender – It’s not worth risking additional injury. You need to stay at the crash site. Don’t move car parts around if possible. Focus on your breathing, your health, and your friends and family.
5. If the vehicles are drivable and no one is injured, get to a safe place – If possible, move to the side of the road or even a nearby parking lot.
Drunk driving crashes are traumatic, dangerous, and 100 percent preventable. Until we reach a future of No More Victims®, please follow these recommendations to stay safe after a crash.
By Ron Replogle
Law Enforcement Initiatives Manager
I was attending the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference with 16,000 police officers from around the world Saturday, October 15, 2016, when a very tragic scene unfolded literally right before our very eyes.
At approximately 3:30 p.m., an alleged drunk driving crashed on the Coronado Bay Bridge adjacent to the San Diego Convention Center. The pickup truck stuck the bridge railing and went over the side of the bridge, and dropped 60 feet below landing on a crowd of people celebrating at a festival at Chicano Park below the bridge.
The crash killed four and injured nine.
I was approximately five blocks away attending a meeting of the State and Provincial Police Division where, ironically, we were discussing highway and public safety issues. All of us in the room heard the sirens of the first responders racing to the scene. Of course not knowing the details and the severity of this crash and of the innocent lives lost and injured, we went on about our business. A few hours later, I began to hear of the details of the crash, and, then, I saw the first local news report.
This crash is another example of the carnage that impaired drivers continue to cause on our roadways and in our society. This has to stop.
On average, 28 people are killed in our nation every day by impaired drivers. Unfortunately on October 15, 2016, four innocent people celebrating on a beautiful day in San Diego lost their life in an instant due to the criminal and brutal actions of one driver. Very sad to say the least.
The crash and case highlight exactly why we need to continue our fight to eliminate drunk driving so there are No More Victims®!
MADD Victim Services recently hosted a national webinar with a special guest, Sgt. Ryan Johansen, an officer out of California with a passion for law enforcement and also for advocating for victims and survivors.
His main point was that MADD and law enforcement must work together by doing four central things: Caring, Knowing, Supporting and Preventing.
He encouraged MADD Advocates to get involved in roll call briefings, get to know their law enforcement agencies and officers and see if a victim or survivor will share their story prior to key events, such as sobriety checkpoints or saturation patrols. Doing so may help officers who hear those stories gain continued motivation and support to continue to prevent crashes from occurring.
By working with investigating officers as well as prosecutors, advocates can make a difference by advocating that all possible charges or enhancements have been applied. They can also work by educating victims and survivors about the processes they are going through and encouraging them that the best cases take time to put together.
One of the tips he shared was that in his community they use a template warrant to garner blood draws, saving time and energy to make sure that suspected drunk drivers are tested, an example of working smarter within the community to make sure investigations are done well.
MADD appreciates his education, dedication and support. We recognize the importance of working closely with law enforcement, investigators, and prosecutors to prevent crashes or provide support when a crash occurs, and we thank them for their service.
MADD Florida staff and volunteers honored Becky Gage last week for her 19 years of service and dedication to MADD as a Victim Services Specialist.
Becky has given of her time to victims/survivors, and it is without saying she is one of the best advocates that MADD has worked with.
Unfortunately, she knows all too well how drunk driving can impact a family. Becky’s son, Dennis, was killed in 1996. She has turned her grief into action, and her pain into compassion. She has gone to crash scenes to assist law enforcement with death notifications on her own time. She has sat in court with thousands of families to lend her support. She organizes a moving victim/survivor tribute during the holidays, so families can remember and honor their loved ones. She has cheered those same people on at the various walks in the Tampa Bay area.
We wouldn’t have the reputation and success of MADD’s victim services program without Becky going above and beyond the call of duty. In her 19 years of service, she has assisted at more than 7,000 drunk and drugged driving crashes and provided more than 29,000 services.
It was with sincere gratitude that we recognize Becky Gage for her 19 years of service with MADD and to wish her well on her retirement. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
Debbie Weir, David Pinsker, and MADD Hillsborough’s co-founder Linda Unfried were on hand to wish Becky well in her future adventures of travel, and spending time with friends and family!
|MADD CEO Debbie Weir, Becky Gage (with a portrait of her son, Dennis) and MADD Hillsborough's co-founder Lina Unfried|
|Becky has served more than 7,000 drunk and drugged driving crashes and provided more than 29,000 services to victims.|
|MADD CEO Debbie Weir says goodbye to Becky.|
My son, Chezray Ramon Young was only 20 years old when he was brutally killed by the act and actions of an individual. This individual desired to disobey the laws constructed and enacted to punish law violators by not only drinking and driving but, also, by driving at an extremely high rate of speed.
The images that plague our thoughts and our hearts are the thoughts of seeing his small frame body being tossed all around his vehicle to which he was so proud to own. The images we continue to battle with daily, the ones that keeps our hearts constantly fluttering, are the images of a life, a valuable life, a God fearing young man’s life, a smile that made the world go around life, an image of “Momma, I got your back life” and, my teacher, my coach cut short.
Life for us, a once tight-knit family is no more the same.
We moved to Arizona with a mission to accomplish and that mission was to finish with our endeavors and to finish them strong as a strong team. That team didn’t include anyone else but a mother, two sons and a daughter. We knew that in order to become what we wanted, we had to have each other and hold each other together. He was so mannerable, so polite, so dependable, so wise with words and had a hug and kiss that made life feel flawless. Now, what we try to hold together is our mind.
We struggle to continue though we know Chezray wouldn’t want us to give up. It doesn’t stop the hole that has been drilled through our entire being. No more curb-side service, no more coaching, no more being the armor bearer, no more being that smile. What’s left is a 12-year-old who struggles every single night. A sister who doesn’t have her best friend, her partner, her brother's arms or shoulder to cry on. What’s left is a mangled mother who feels like her chest has been caved in with no room for a heart to beat, a mother whose health has taken on a journey of its own. And family and friends who can’t seem to embrace why a young man, a respectable young man’s life, was cut so short all because, instead of going straight home fromwork, he did what he did best. He gave a ride home to a friend. Everything positive and everything that’s good that anyone can capture by his smile, is what he was.
To keep Chezray’s memory alive his Aunt Tasonia Hendrix formed a team and will be walking on Saturday, October 8th at Eisenhower Park in San Antonio, TX. Please join us as we end drunk driving or make a donation.
By Lael Hill
MADD Indiana Lead Victim Services Specialist
You may not think it, but Indianapolis serves as home to nearly 14,000 refugees, people I quickly realized needed to hear the MADD message despite language and cultural barriers. I was at a loss to serve this community until I met Lun Pieper from the Indiana prosecutor’s office.
Lun, a Burmese immigration attorney who also works as a Deputy Prosecutor, explained to me that the refugees fled their home country of Burma in search of opportunity and safety. But many began getting into legal trouble with drunk driving crimes as a result of their limited understanding of our laws. Driving impaired is not illegal in their country. She also explained they did not know English, making a traditional MADD Victim Impact Panel (VIP) impractical. We wanted to address these challenges, while also taking into consideration the trauma and distress caused by fleeing their their war torn homeland.
Lun and I also had discussed how important it was for us to facilitate a VIP in the Burmese community to combat the problem of drinking and driving. She quickly connected me with management from the Chin Community Center along with volunteers from Luna Languages Services, both valuable resources available specifically for this population.
Before the panel, I experienced some anxiety related to making sure I could communicate with the Burmese community, the impact that OWI crimes have on victims, and how I can deliver such a profound topic while being culturally sensitive. All the anxiety quickly diminished as Lun and her volunteers were already at the center ready to translate and help us with our mission.
Lun and the other volunteers were able to translate Officer Craig Wildauer’s speech, my speech as an advocate, and our program coordinator Pam Kelshaw’s speech about her daughter Silina and nephew Jessie. I also felt strongly that I had to incorporate a song in the Burmese language about grief and loss to our victim tribute. Adding a song that had meaning to them culturally to the presentation had a great impact on the attendees.
To summarize, my feelings as a victim advocate, cultural competency and diversity is central in creating a world of NO More Victims®, and I was so honored to be a part of something that delivered the vital information of MADD’s life saving mission to this community of Burmese refugees.
At MADD Indiana, we want to serve everyone, no matter of cultural differences and language barriers. While we may not be able to communicate with those that speak a different language all the time, we can always do our best to network with community members that can.
After all, that is what advocacy is all about.
By Art Morrow
Regional Director of Operations, Great Lakes
Saturday September 17, tears of healing flowed for Minnesotan families as MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church mingled with Walk Like MADD teams, listened to their heartbreaking stories, and shared her story of losing her son Dustin, at the 2016 Twin Cities Walk.
Throughout, her mother’s heart resonated deeply with victims and survivors. Her encouragement to keep up the fight to end drunk and drugged driving drew clapping from the 400+ who participated in the Walk at beautiful Como Park in St. Paul.
The most touching experience of the Walk was when Colleen interviewed 40 Walk Team Captains, who were lined up in solidarity in the pavilion area to share the name of their lost loved one or survivor. As Team Captains shared who they were walking for, Colleen led everyone in saying the name of each person. Tears flowed as Colleen interacted with each Team Captain, shared empathetic responses and spontaneous hugs, and recognized survivors among the participants gathered in the grass around the pavilion.
For both long-time volunteers, and newcomers like the teen girl who formed a first-time team to honor her mother, who was killed by a drunk and drugged driver in 2015, this was an experience they will never forget: a time of healing and hope as we walked together toward the day of No More Victims.
People commonly use the words “grief” and “mourning” interchangeably, but they aren’t synonyms.
Mourning is the outward expression of loss and grief. It involves tasks that help a person accept the reality of the loss and work through the pain to adjust to a new environment without their loved one. This isn’t a simple undertaking. It requires coming up with a new self-identity without the person who has died.
Grief is the process of experiencing the physical, social, and psychological reactions to the perception of loss.
While universally felt, grief is not universally experienced in the same manner between two people. Each person has their own unique emotional defenses, cultural touchpoints, beliefs, and support network that impact grieving. No two people are the same or experience and process grief in the exact same manner.
People experience grief physically, emotionally, behaviorally and spiritually. Sadness, depression, vulnerability, and helplessness are common emotions to experience. Others may go through periods of denial, confusion, or disorganization.What Causes Complicated Grief?
In some cases, grief can transform into complicated grief. Complicated grief refers to a type of grief that is intense and long lasting to the point that it interferes with our mind and body’s attempts to heal. This type of pain is overwhelming and disabling, often shattering the attachments and connections that define us. Feelings of victimization, thoughts of retaliation, and anger intensify complicated grief.
Almost all the factors that can trigger complicated grief can be present for a drunk or drugged driving victim or survivor:
What can you do?
While intensity may wane and the symptoms subside, there is no such thing as closure to the loss of a loved one from a traumatic event. The loss will always be felt. And that’s ok. However, you can take active steps to make your grief more manageable:
Grief is normal and unavoidable. But there is hope. Drunk and drugged driving victims survivors can learn to cope with their grief and eventually find happiness in spite of their loss.
MADD’s Victim Advocates seek to help victims find the right approach for each individual. If you are a victim of drunk or drugged driving, please call our national 24/7 Victim Help Line at 1-877-MADD-HELP.
Would you believe two out of three teens do NOT drink? More importantly, would your teen or child understand the dangers?
Misinformation is everywhere – from movies and TV to social media and peer groups – when it comes to the topic of underage drinking.
That’s why we’re excited to share a newly-launched, teen-focused website – www.PowerofYouth.com – aimed at sharing with teens the very real dangers of drinking underage and how to stand strong in their commitment of no drinking before the age of 21.
Educating the next generation about the dangers of underage drinking and riding in a vehicle with a drinking driver is a critical part of MADD’s mission – and one every parent needs to share with their child.
Based on feedback from a teen focus group, the site highlights the newly-refreshed Power of You(th)® booklet and seeks to empower teens to make safe and healthy decisions. The site:
- Encourages teens to be part of a group – the millions of teens who don’t drink
- Lays out the dangers in an easy-to-understand and direct fashion – with consequences teens can understand and value
- Shares strategies for how teens can approach the topic with their parents and friends
Visit the site today and share it with your child or teen. Helping them understand how they can be part of the group AND not drink underage will decrease their chances of being hurt or killed in an alcohol-related trauma and give them a shot at a great future.
So, we want to do everything in our power to ensure another mother or father doesn’t experience such a devastating loss. Let’s protect and empower our teens.
Together, we can make a difference!
MADD’s 2016 Legislators of the Year
MADD is excited to announce our “2016 Legislators of the Year” — 69 lawmakers across the country honored for their dedication to saving lives and advancing MADD’s ultimate goal — creating a nation of No More Victims of the 100 percent preventable crime of drunk driving.
We thank the following elected officials for authoring and championing live-saving legislation in 2016:
California: Senator Jerry Hill (pictured to the left with Program Director of MADD California-San Francisco Bay Area Natasha Thomas) authored SB 1046 to improve California’s ignition interlock law by incentivizing the use of an ignition interlock after the first offense and requiring interlocks repeat offenders and offenders who cause injury or death. SB 1046 would allow all first-time drunk driving offenders the choice between using an ignition interlock for six months or receiving a one-year license suspension with the possibility of route-restricted driving privileges after 30 days. The legislation is awaits the Governor’s signature.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (pictured below with Executive Director of MADD San Diego Steve Lykins and former National Board Member and longtime volunteer Nina Walker) authored AB 2121, which would require training for California bartenders, servers, and managers in responsible beverage service (RBS). Specifically, AB 2121 seeks to help individuals who serve alcohol meet their statutory requirement to not serve obviously intoxicated patrons or minors by requiring participation in an RBS training program approved by the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC). AB 2121 also is pending the Governor’s signature.
Colorado: Rep. Rhonda Fields and Rep. Polly Lawrence have proven themselves to be strong defenders of crime victims’ rights. Rep. Fields and Rep. Lawrence co-chair the Crime Victim Rights Caucus to educate other legislators on important victim rights issues. During the legislative session and throughout the year, Rep. Fields and Rep. Lawrence fight for the rights of those who have been so unjustly impacted by the crimes of others.
Senator John Cooke and Senator Mike Johnston also worked with Rep. Lawrence to pass important legislation to strengthen the victim impact panel program in Colorado. The purpose of the Victim Impact Panel program is to educate people convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs about the lasting and long-term effects of substance impaired driving and to change thinking and behavior to prevent future DUIs. Each year, MADD conducts 156 separate Victim Impact Panels in 19 cities across Colorado — educating approximately 13,000 drunk and drugged driving offenders.
Connecticut: Fourteen lawmakers teamed up to work on SB 365 or Public Act 16-126, creating a DUI child endangerment law, as well as HB 5629 or Public Act 16-182 An Act Concerning A Diversionary Program for Persons Under Age Twenty-One For Motor Vehicle Violation And Crimes Related To Underage Drinking. They are: Representative Al Adinolfi, Representative Joe Aresimowicz, Representative Christie Carpino, Senator Eric Coleman, Senator Leonard Fasano, Representative Mary Fritz, Representative Stephen Harding, Senator Tony Hwang, Senator John Kissel, Representative Themis Klarides, Senator Martin Looney, Representative Rosa Rebimbas, Representative Richard Smith and Representative William Tong.
Washington, DC: Councilmember Mary Cheh authored the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act which was signed into law this summer. The measure also requires ignition interlocks for all drunk drivers for at least six months.
Florida: Senator David Simmons and Representatives Scott Plakon and Robert Cortes authored DUI reform legislation SB 1244/HB 555 in 2016. Originally, the legislation increased penalties for drunk drivers who refuse a chemical test, including to require all offenders who refuse to utilize an ignition interlock. Due to pending Supreme Court cases and concerns from lawmakers, the legislation was amended to require ignition interlocks for six months for all drunk drivers. Representative Katie Edwards authored HB 1363 increasing the use of ignition interlocks through DUI courts.
Georgia: Representative Tom Rice authored HB 205, which creates a first-time offender interlock law and allows any drunk driver and offender who refuses a chemical test to utilize an ignition interlock. Prior to the passage of this legislation, Georgia was one of only a handful of states that failed to utilize ignition interlocks for first-time offenders. MADD is also pleased to honor Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle for his efforts in guiding this lifesaving legislation through the Senate.
Indiana: Representative Timothy Wesco authored successful ignition interlock fix-up legislation HB 1130, which will help boost the number of interlocks used in Indiana.
Maryland: Delegate Ben Kramer and Senator Jamie Raskin authored Noah’s Law, making Maryland’s ignition interlock law a model for other states. Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo authored Alex and Calvin’s Law, which toughens the state’s penalties for serving alcohol to those who are under 21.
Massachusetts: Senator James Timilty authored all-offender interlock legislation SB 1895. The legislation was amended onto another bill that passed the Senate — the furthest all-offender interlock legislation ever made it in Massachusetts. The legislation ran out of time in 2016. Massachusetts is one of only two states that fails to utilize interlocks for first-time offenders (Idaho is the other).
Michigan: Representative Klint Kesto authored all-offender ignition interlock legislation HB 5456. Senator Tonya Schuitmaker authored SB 808, which would allow the Secretary of State to create a MADD fundraising license plate and assign all proceeds from the sale of these plates to assist MADD in carrying out its mission.
Mississippi: Representative Patricia Willis, Representative Andy Gipson, Senator David Parker, Senator Sean Tindell, and Representative Kevin Horan worked on legislation to strengthen its ignition interlock laws and improve coordination of DUI records throughout the state.
Missouri: Representative Caleb Jones for his efforts on HB 2255, which allows any person who is required to have an ignition interlock device installed to apply to the court for a variance to drive an employer-owned vehicle without the device. The exemption shall not apply in certain situations, and the offender may not drive the employer-owned vehicle with certain passengers or for personal use. HB 2255 was amended onto SB 657 to eventually become law.
New York: Senator George Amedore and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas authored S4769A and A4719B, which improves the drugged driving law. Assemblyman John McDonald III, Assemblyman Dean Murray and Assemblyman David McDonough also cosponsored this legislation. S4769A and A 4719B gives prosecutors and law enforcement the tools necessary to hold drugged drivers accountable — including those who drive under the influence of bath salts, synthetic marijuana and difluoroethane. Current New York law allows driving under the influence of these substances.
Ohio: Representative Gary Scherer authored HB 388, or Annie's Law, which incentivizes the use of interlocks for first-time offenders. The legislation passed the House in May and is pending consideration in the Senate.
Pennsylvania: 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 was signed into law by Governor Wolf earlier this year.
Rhode Island: Senator Stephen Archambault authored all-offender ignition interlock legislation SB 2370 requiring all DUI offenders applying for a hardship license to have an ignition interlock. Representative Gregg Amore authored the House version of this lifesaving legislation.
South Carolina: Representative Eddie Tallon authored H 3165 to address the problem of DUI offenders simply moving to mopeds and being able to continually drive drunk without any recourse.
Senator Larry Martin authored S 178 attempting to address the state’s serious issue of losing DUI cases over minor issues with the videotape of the arrest, and S 428 to require approved responsible beverage service training for those who sell alcohol.
Tennessee: Senator John Stevens and Representative William Lamberth authored ignition interlock fixup legislation SB2065 and HB 1843.
Representative Lamberth also authored with Senator Randy McNally HB 1478 and SB 1572 boosting penalties for offenders on their sixth offense.
Representative Mark White authored legislation improving DUI reporting (HB 2199 and HB 1427). Senator Mark Norris authored similar legislation to improve DUI reporting (SB 2577 and SB 2576).
Senator Norris also authored SB 1156 boosting penalties for impaired drivers making certain DUI offenders illegible for probation. Representative G.A. Hardaway authored similar legislation HB 0401.
Representative Joe Pitts and Senator Kerry Roberts authored Tyler Head’s Law (HB 1514 and SB 1730), establishing a roadside memorial sign program for victims of impaired driving.
Senator Doug Overbey and Representative Dale Carr authored SB 35 and HB 576, effective January 1, 2017, which makes those convicted of vehicular homicide, when alcohol and or other drugs are involved, ineligible for probation.
Vermont: Representative Willem Jewett authored all-offender interlock legislation H 560, which, was amended onto H 876, making Vermont one of three states plus Washington D.C. to enact an all-offender interlock law in 2016.
Wisconsin: Representative André Jacque and Senator Roger Roth authored legislation allowing for law enforcement to obtain a search warrant for first-time offenders who refuse an alcohol chemical test. The legislation, SB 29, was signed into law.
Senator Alberta Darling and Representative Jim Ott authored legislation making all fourth drunk driving offenses felonies.
Senator Van Wanggaard authored interlock improvement legislation SB 222.
Senator Chris Larson authored all-offender interlock legislation SB 484.
Anna Louise Rooney, fondly known as Annie, of Chillicothe, Ohio was killed by a drunk driver the night of July 4th, 2013. Annie was traveling home after borrowing a friend’s bike for an upcoming race when an oncoming driver crossed into her lane and hit her head on going 80 mph.
Annie was just 36 years old when her life was cut tragically short by a drunk driver. She graduated from Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, Ohio in 1995 where she was a star athlete. Annie went on to graduate from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island in 1999 and the Law School of Lewis and Clark in Portland, Oregon. Prior to returning to Chillicothe, Annie took up residence as a prosecuting attorney in Bozeman, Montana, where she served her community by aggressively prosecuting domestic violence and DUI cases.
Annie had a passion for adventure and fed that passion through travel. She traveled and lived all over the world including every continent except for Antarctica (however that was on her list!) exploring every inch of this world that she could. She was dearly loved by many; known for her charm, sense of humor, moral courage, her generous smile, and her unique ability to make others feel loved. One of Annie’s most memorable characteristics was her boundless energy filled with her unending optimism.
Professionally, Annie was a successful prosecutor and a tireless advocate for crime victims. Her hard work and dedication continued to inspire those around her.
One of her former colleagues best described her through this quote, “She was the one you looked at and (were) just amazed by. You wanted to be like her, but you couldn’t figure out how.”
In Ohio, Annie has been the inspiration for a new proposed law, pending in the Ohio General Assembly, called “Annie’s Law”. The bill, championed by Rep. Gary Scherer, R-Circleville, would require ignition interlock devices in any vehicle operated by convicted DUI offenders. Meaning that a driver has to pass a Breathalyzer test in order to be able to start the vehicle. The Rooney family has advocated for this bill as a tribute to Annie’s life and to make sure that she didn’t die in vain. Drunk driving offenders convicted of operating a vehicle while under the influence could ask a judge to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles in exchange for a shorter driving suspension. With the ignition interlock device installed in the offender’s car the vehicle won’t start if there is alcohol on the driver’s breath.
Not only has Annie inspired a law, but she has now become the inspiration for “Team Annie” in Walk Like MADD, for both the Central Ohio Walk (October 1, 2016, Homestead Park, Hilliard, Ohio) and Greater Cincinnati Walk (October 22, Summit Park, Blue Ash, Ohio). The team members are walking to end drunk driving in Ohio, so that tragedies like Annie’s don’t continue to happen. Team Annie has raised nearly $1,900 for the Greater Cincinnati Walk Like MADD and more than $2,000 towards their $3,000 goal for the Central Ohio Walk Like MADD.
A California District Attorney DUI-focused unit led by a California District Attorney's Office has earned its first big win this summer in the fight against drugged driving – a murder conviction for a drugged impaired driver.
Rodolfo Alberto Contreras was sentenced in July to 20 years in prison after being convicted by a jury of second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while impaired by marijuana, and DUI by marijuana causing injury.
“As we begin this statewide discussion about legalization of marijuana, we cannot ignore the potential consequences of making it more accessible,” said County of Kern District Attorney Lisa S. Green. “I hope our legislature will take the appropriate actions to ensure law enforcement has the tools to cope with the increase of cases similar to this one.”
Contreras ran a red light at an intersection in Kern County around noon in March of 2014. Driving close to 80 miles per hour, he lost control of his Honda, crossed the center divider, and struck an oncoming Ford Explorer. The driver of the Explorer, David Aggio, was killed on impact. His wife was seriously injured.
Contreras' Honda split in two, hitting two additional vehicles. Fortunately, no one in those two vehicles was injured.
Witnesses described the 400-feet of debris as resembling an “airplane crash site.”
Contreras had smoked marijuana that morning. His blood was tested after the collision, showing 16 nanograms of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. He had no other drugs in his system. When a witness told him he had killed someone, Contreras said, “I want my weed,” according to the Office of the District Attorney County of Kern press release.
The field-long passes, the perfect blocks, and running back who just barely catches that impossible catch - football players deliver the thrills and chills that captivate us as nation.
Not only do we watch their every move on the field, fans young and old are watching their favorite sports heroes offline as well.
That's why MADD was so pleased this year to extend its partnership with the National Football League (NFL) by giving the 2016 rookies a few drills of our own.
|Denver Broncos||Indianapolis Colts|
During an intensive, travel-filled, two-week time period, MADD Difference Makers and volunteers criss-crossed the country, eventually sharing our lifesaving message with 30 of 32 NFL teams. It isn't every day we have the opportunity to speak to players who may influence not only this generation but also the next, so we were grateful for the opportunity.
We shared our data. We shared our stories. And we shared our hearts and our mission with them.
And they responded warmly!
"This is not only an excellent opportunity to connect with teams to build local mission activities, but, also, to help make a difference in building young men's lives," said MADD CEO Debbie Weir, who presented to the Dallas Cowboys and the Carolina Panthers.
|MADD CEO Debbie Weir with the Dallas Cowboys||and the Carolina Panthers rookie players.|
A 100% preventable crime?
Every 52 minutes someone is killed in a drunk driving crash and every two minutes someone is injured. With 300,000 drunk driving incidences DAILY, sadly, two out of three people will be impacted by drunk driving in their lifetime.
Speaking before groups of 20-some players, these often-repeated statistics were brought to life.
"About two-thirds of the Steelers' rookies in attendance knew of someone involved in a drunk or drug impaired crash," said MADD Pennsylvania Program Manager Malcolm Friend. "It was startling to see how many people's lives were already touched."
|San Diego Chargers||Minnesota Vikings|
For those athletes lucky enough to not have experienced the trauma drunk driving inflicts, we asked a victim to share their personal story. During the Atlanta Falcons presentation, that victim was Allie Hood, a national MADD teen influencer, who along with her sister shared how a drunk driver killed her brother.
"My sister, Taylor, and I shared our story of losing our brother Tyler and shared how MADD has tremendously impacted our lives. The players were visually moved and brought to tears by our story," she said. "One reason I believe they were effected is because they got to see two teenagers whose lives have been shattered and forever changed by the careless and senseless act of a drunk driver. I think we helped them understand that crashes can happen to anyone, not just people in the news or the 'other' person"
"Sharing our story is very tough and hard to get through. But if it makes the players more aware that drunk driving effects a lot of people beside themselves and that it only takes ONE time, it’s worth it. That means we have potentially saved a life in that room, as well as in our community," Allie said. "The reality is that Taylor and I are only a couple of years younger than these players, so young people like us can impact them."
|Oakland Raiders||Atlanta Falcons|
We also talked with the rookies about their role as community leaders.
We asked them to consider all the ramifications of mixing drinking and driving – from the legal consequences and damage to their career and reputation to the very real danger of killing or hurting other people.
We ended the presentations by sharing solutions, such as planning on how to get home before the celebration begins. That means having a designated driver, calling a taxi, taking public transportation or calling an Uber.
"The players all use Uber as an alternative form of transportation," Malcom Friend said. "The ones that did not before our presentaiton had the app on their smartphones by the end of the day!"
Wondering where to park at Dallas Walk Like MADD? What will the course look like? And how will you remember, inspire and commit? Get all the behind-the-scenes details below.
Losing a loved one is never easy. Death, no matter the cause, inflicts grief, turbulence, and sadness.
However, under a particular set of traumatic conditions, death transforms into “traumatic death.” A death caused by a drunk or drugged driving crash is always traumatic by its very definition.
What is traumatic death?
If a person dies from a long-term illness, the family members have time to mentally and emotionally prepare. Preparations may be made for burial, and both the family and the loved one can exert at least some control of the situation, such as deciding on funeral arrangements together. Importantly, friends and family members often have the opportunity to say goodbye.
In a drunk or drugged driving crash, all of that is taken away.
People impacted by these violent crimes rarely have that opportunity for closure or preparation.
It hits a person out of the blue and with no warning. Often the victim and family members have no control over the situation at all.
Our brains recognize this difference and respond differently. With traumatic death, the memories are often stored deep within the brain as long-term memories. This means that drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors may have vibrant and intense memories of the event, even years later. These memories can trigger intense and overwhelming feelings no matter how much time has passed.
What can you do?
People experiencing a traumatic death must heal at their own pace and in their own way. Support of friends and family is crucial, especially long-term support.
Many people find the ability to talk about the crash or the lost loved one to be healing, and many victims hold ceremonies, sometimes annually, to honor and remember.
Drunk driving irrevocably changes people’s lives in ways we can’t imagine. Encourage victims to take the time to eat right and exercise or other self-healing habits. Hobbies like journaling or yoga offer some people relief.
MADD’s Victim Advocates seek to help victims find the right approach for each individual. If you are a victim of drunk or drugged driving, please call our national 24/7 Victim Help Line at 1-877-MADD-HELP.
On August 19, 2016 Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Highway Patrol, and Plant City deputies held a DUI Wolfpack that started in Plant City, Florida.
A DUI Wolfpack is an enhanced law enforcement effort to crack down on impaired driving. These operations are part of an ongoing commitment to reduce deaths, injuries and property damage associated with traffic crashes related to impaired driving. Their goal was to remove as many impaired drivers from the road as possible, before the drunk drivers could cause damage or death.
More than 20 DUI arrests were made, saving countless numbers of lives, and ensuring that there were NO MORE VICTIMS on their watch!
Before the Wolfpack, MADD volunteers provided food, water and snacks for the large group of officers, troopers and deputies – totaling over 35 men and women! Thanks goes to ABC Pizza in Plant City, as well the volunteers who brought food.
Before the briefing started, MADD gave a huge thank you to Deputy Larry Morrell, who will be retiring December 31, 2016. Deputy Morrell has been in law enforcement for 38 years, and with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for 25 years, and in law enforcement for nearly 38 years. He has made over 2,000 DUI arrests and arrested approximately 500 people for underage drinking possession! He serves on MADD’s advisory board, is well respected in the community due to his dedication to prevent impaired drivers from ever getting behind the wheel, and intensive efforts to prevent underage drinking.
Our thanks also go out to Wellcare and Staywell in their offers to donate!
By Donna Billingsley
My name is Donna Billingsley, and my son Stephen was killed instantly in a head on crash with a drunk driver March 7, 2003.
Stephen had a booming voice, a quick wit, an incredible imagination and a heart of gold. He loved chaos and controversy, and, if there wasn’t any, he made something up. He was an absent minded professor. His dream was to create anime with his girl Cass, who survived the crash.
Cass is from Australia, and they met through an online game. She came to the States about three months before the crash. Stephen was so nervous to meet her he got the time difference wrong and arrived at the airport a day early. He had to come home without her.
Stephen has a brother, Derek, and a sister, Paige. Partners in crime (hahaha). We each have our demons to deal with since the crash. For me, I cannot let Stephen or the reason he died be forgotten. My family has accepted my passion, and they just roll with it. His face is on the back window of my jeep so people can see who they are willing to kill if they drive drunk.
Even though it is difficult to get started each year for the MADD Walk, I am so grateful to be able to do good with the sadness I feel every day. With the help of my wonderful family, friends and generous community, I feel like we can make a difference.
This year, we set up tables at stores with posters and ribbons and asked everyone if they would like to help - and most did. Amazing people!!!
As long as anyone who loved Stephen lives and breathes, he will NOT be forgotten! To keep Stephen’s memory alive we will be walking on Saturday, September 10th at the Lubbock County Courthouse in Lubbock, TX. Please join us as we end drunk driving or make a donation.