Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to protect families from drunk driving and underage drinking. With the help of those who want a safer future, MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® will end this danger on America’s roads. PowerTalk 21™ is the national day for parents to talk with their kids about alcohol, using the proven strategies of Power of Parents, It’s Your Influence™ to reduce the risk of underage drinking. And as one of the largest victim services organizations in the U.S., MADD also supports drunk driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every 10 minutes at 1-877-MADD-HELP.

Together, these programs ensure that MADD achieves its lifesaving mission.

Concrete Truck Raises Awareness for MADD

Campbell Concrete and Materials in Houston, TX, joined us this year at the Houston Walk Like MADD on June 27th in honor of one of their drivers, Rafael Guerrero and his family. Rafael, his wife Alejandra, their son Luis Angel and Alejandra's brother Gilberto Ortega Jr. were all killed in a drunk driving crash last August.

Thirty Campbell Concrete employees attended the Walk, where they revealed their newly designed “MADD truck” dedicated to Rafael. The truck has MADD’s logo and our 24-hour Help Line number on the side to help remind drivers that drinking and driving don’t mix. It also helps raise awareness for MADD’s free victim services. In fact, the driver of the new MADD truck has been trained to provide information about MADD, and refer victims to MADD Victim Services.

Thank you Campbell Concrete and Materials for this unique way to honor victims and help raise awareness.

2015 Campaign Success

You did it! Your emails, phone calls and personal visits to lawmakers have made the difference in getting new legislation passed to protect our loved ones from drunk driving.

This year, Texas became the 25th state with an all-offender ignition interlock law. That means, thanks to you, we are halfway to reaching our goal of every state passing a law for ignition interlocks after the first drunk driving offense!

In addition, Kentucky passed a law requiring interlocks for first-time offenders with a BAC of .15 or higher. And in Colorado, you helped get a law passed that makes drunk driving a felony after the fourth offense and increases the ignition interlock requirement for repeat offenders.

Your efforts also helped put more muscle into an all-offender ignition interlock law in Arkansas. Now, convicted offenders can only get their driving privileges restored after proving they have used an ignition interlock. And last month in Illinois, lawmakers sent to the Governor three bills improving the state’s all-offender law.

And we’re not done yet. We are so close in New Jersey to enacting a life-saving interlock law. In February, the legislature sent an all-offender bill to the Governor’s desk. However, the Governor agreed to sign a revised all-offender bill, provided lawmakers make some changes. MADD hopes lawmakers and the Governor can come to an agreement this fall so New Jersey can enact this important legislation.  

We are also still working hard in several other states to get laws passed this year, including North Carolina, Ohio, California, Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Click here to contact your lawmakers to advocate for change.

The passage of ignition interlock laws for all offenders is a key element of MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®. Requiring all convicted drunk drivers to use ignition interlocks to prove they are sober before they can start their vehicles has been shown to save lives and stop drunk driving. Click here to learn more about ignition interlocks.

Thank you for all of your efforts to help save lives and eliminate drunk driving. We are now one step closer to becoming a nation with No More Victims™!

Volunteer Spotlight: Arlene Victor

Giving your time to an organization is always praiseworthy. But when you dedicate 30 years to a cause … well that is just extraordinary.

This year, the MADD Iowa Chapter celebrates its 30 year anniversary, and the woman who started it all, celebrates 30 years of saving lives and serving people.

Arlene Victor found herself facing the unthinkable when a drunk driver killed her son Marty and his wife Chris on Easter Sunday in 1984. Kelley, her 16-month-old granddaughter, was hospitalized for a week after the crash – her arm had been broken in five places.

Suddenly, she found herself grieving her son and daughter-in-law while also caring for her granddaughter, now orphaned by the crash. Arlene and her husband Cletus were named Kelley’s legal guardians, and made providing for her their priority. 

She explained in a MADD Victim Services newsletter article in 2007, “What doesn’t kill you makes you strong.  I didn’t have a choice about what happened, but I did have a choice about what to do with the rest of my life.”

It wasn’t long before Arlene met others impacted by this senseless crime. Together, they decided that something had to be done to ensure their children’s deaths were not in vain. So in 1985 they applied and were granted a charter, creating the Dubuque-Jackson County MADD Chapter in Iowa.

Since becoming a MADD volunteer, Arlene has spoken to tens of thousands of young people in area schools and colleges, hosted bi-monthly Victim Impact Panels, raised money to provide local law enforcement with video and breathalyzer equipment, launched public awareness campaigns, provided victim advocacy for those impacted by drunk or drugged driving, and ensured that MADD maintained a presence in Iowa every day for the last 30 years. In short, she’s nothing short of remarkable. 

MADD cannot begin to say thank you enough to Arlene for her tireless dedication and efforts to save lives in Iowa. But she doesn’t do it for praise or thanks. She does it to save lives. And undoubtedly, she has done just that.

If you are interested in saving lives like Arlene, consider becoming a MADD volunteer. Click here to sign up and someone from a MADD office near you will contact you. Every hour you give helps put us one step closer to a future with No More Victims™.

2015 Golden Achievement Award Winners

At this year’s National Presidents Awards at our 35th Anniversary National Conference, Norris and Aline Skelley from MADD Tennessee received the prestigious Golden Achievement Award, the highest award given to MADD volunteers.

This husband and wife team run the Upper Cumberland Chapter of MADD, while also lending their expertise and compassion to statewide events. Their volunteer work with MADD began after Aline’s brother Chris was killed by a drunk driver in 1993. Over the last 22 years, Aline and Norris have honored their brother’s memory by organizing Candlelight Vigils, speaking at Victim Impact Panels, fundraising for Walk Like MADD® events, advocating for victims, and raising awareness in any way possible.

Norris, who serves as the MADD Tennessee Public Policy Chair, and Aline both worked tirelessly in support of Tennessee’s bill for all-offender interlocks, which passed in 2012.  They played a crucial in creating MADD license plates in the state of Tennessee, which brings over $15,000 a year to support MADD’s programs and services in the state. They also coordinate an Annual MADD Softball tournament, which has been raising money for MADD for 17 years.

They symbolize everything MADD stands for with their committed, humanitarian, principled, unassuming, yet keen volunteer work to save lives and support people. They call themselves ordinary everyday people, but they are actually extraordinary people doing extraordinary things, every day. MADD is privileged for them to represent us with such dignity and honor.

“You Always Have A Place” Victim Tribute Recipe Book

We are excited to share with you a new project that honors victims and survivors of drunk and drugged driving crashes, as well as underage drinking victims: the “You Always Have A Place” Victim Tribute Recipe Book.

For so many families, getting together for a meal—whether it’s a simple Sunday breakfast or a grand Thanksgiving feast—is a special time to enjoy each other’s company. But for families that have lost someone to drunk or drugged driving or underage drinking, there’s always someone missing at the table.

That’s why we’ve put together this recipe book—so we can remember our loved ones by sharing some of the dishes that always put a smile on their face.

We hope it serves as a special way to honor those we’ve lost, and make sure they’re not forgotten.  And we hope it serves as a reminder of all the work we have left to do to get to a day when there are no more victims.

Until then, we will continue serving the people impacted by this terrible crime … who will always have a place at MADD. And we will continue honoring the memories of those taken from us … who will always have a place in our hearts.

If you’d like to submit a recipe in honor of a victim or survivor for the next edition, click here and send it to us by July 22.

The Truth Behind the Plea Bargain

After a drunk driving crash, often families must face a painful and drawn-out legal process in order to hold the offender accountable for their crime. It involves numerous court appearances and hearings, and sometimes after months of these proceedings, a prosecutor will decide to offer the offender a plea bargain. This can be painful for some victims and survivors who feel like they need their day in court in order to obtain justice.

Why are Plea Bargains Necessary?

So why do prosecutors sometimes offer a plea bargain in substance impaired driving cases?

Joshua D. Ross, Assistant District Attorney with the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office in Fort Worth, explains unfortunately, plea bargains are a necessary cog in the wheel of the criminal justice system due to the volume of cases on a docket. A benefit of a plea bargains is that it resolves the case without the risks of the unknown, for example, an alleged offender proven innocent of charges.

A plea bargain also guarantees the alleged offender will have the offense on their criminal record. Oftentimes this will be a lesser charge but in doing so, the defendant waives their right to an appeal. The risk of going to trial is that an alleged offender can get off and there will be no record of the offense on their criminal record. If they were to be charged again on the same, or similar offense, of substance impaired driving, it would show as their first offense, which could result in a lighter sentence.

Ross also acknowledges that a disadvantage of accepting a plea is that the alleged offender is allowed to accept a lesser charge and the victim, survivor and their family may be left feeling they did not receive justice for themselves or their loved one.

When determining to accept a plea, the prosecutor evaluates several factors:

  • The strengths of the case
  • The defendant’s criminal history
  • Office policies
  • The wishes of the victim or deceased person’s family.

Other things the prosecution may need to consider in deciding to plea bargain include who is the jury? Where do they live? What time of year is it? And who will be the presiding judge? All of these considerations must be weighed as they can all factor into the judgement should a case go to trial.

Deciding to plea bargain a substance impaired driving case is a risk that the prosecution sometimes has to take in order to guarantee a charge, which can be difficult for victims and their families to understand. However, in most jurisdictions, the State has just as much a right to a jury trial as the defendant. So in cases where the prosecution feels confident that they can obtain a conviction with the jury selected, it’s worth the risk to refuse to make a plea offer.

Ultimately, it’s important for victims and survivors to understand that the decision whether or not to offer a plea resides with the prosecutor. However, even if a plea bargain is agreed upon by the prosecution and defense, a judge does not have to honor that plea and can give a sentence within the range of punishment for the offense.

Trials can be confusing and emotionally exhausting for victims and their families. That is why in many areas MADD offers court accompaniment as part of our Victim Services. If you or a loved one has been impacted by a drunk driving crash, please call our Help Line at 877.MADD.HELP or email to connect with a MADD Victim Advocate in your area.

New MADD Victim Services PSA

For MADD’s 35th anniversary year, we are proud to release our new PSA focused on MADD Victim Services—the first new PSA about MADD Victim Services in 10 years.

Victims and survivors of drunk and drugged driving crashes, as well as their loved ones, often feel lost and hopeless after a crash. While friends and family members are often available in the days immediately surrounding the tragedy, finding a support system that lasts a lifetime can be difficult. That is why MADD Victim Services are so vital to those who have been impacted by this violent crime.

At MADD, victims always have a place. And always will. We provide supportive services at no charge to the victim and their loved ones, 24-hours a day, 365-days a year, as long as they need us. With this PSA, we hope to reach even more victims and survivors to spread the word that MADD is here for them.

We would like to give a special thanks to the three families from North Texas who took part in the PSA: Gwendolyn and Louis Edwards whose son Louis Jarrod was killed in a drunk driving crash in November of 2010; Joshua Tisdale, a young boy whose mother Kelly Tisdale was killed as a pedestrian in a drugged driving crash in September 2011; Hermelinda and Juan Martinez whose sister Maria Vazquez was killed by a drunk driver on Father’s Day in 2012.

The families are followed by MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church, whose son Dustin was killed by a drunk and drugged driver in July 2004. The bond they wish they never had in common—drunk and drugged driving tragedies that were 100% preventable. Tragedies that led them to find comfort and help… and eventually hope… at MADD.

Please watch and share this new PSA to help spread the word to the hundreds of thousands injured every year, and to the loved ones of the more than 10,000 people killed, to let them know that they always have a place at MADD.

Why We Walk: David Weinstein

By Deborah Weinstein, David’s Mom

My son David was killed by a drunk driver May 11, 2011. It was two days after Mother’s Day and two days before his 30th Birthday.

All because of someone’s selfish act, my husband and I, along with our family and his friends, will always have a missing piece in our lives. The drunk driver who killed David was sentenced to 8 years in prison. But the number of years does not matter, I will never get my son back. He was sweet, kind and loved by everyone. There is not a day that goes by that David is not in our thoughts.

After David died I was searching for something...I needed a purpose to move forward. I went on the MADD website. I noticed they had a walk, Walk Like MADD. I am the owner of Curves, a women’s fitness center, and walks for charities and fitness is what I do. But there wasn’t walk in St. Louis. There was not even a walk in Missouri.

I went to the MADD office in St. Louis and talked with Meghan Carter, the State Executive Director for Missouri, and I told her I wanted to start a walk in our city. And that is what we did. I wasn’t sure if I could raise $500 or $5,000.

We had our first walk in May 2013. It was important to me to have the walk in May. It’s Mother’s Day, David’s Birthday and the anniversary of David’s death. In year one, we raised $15,000. In 2014 we raised $15,000 and this year we raised $17,000.

Each year the walk grows and we have more and more teams come together to honor their loved ones. This year we added a raffle. Next year we are adding a timed race to encourage more runners to participate, and I want to continue to add sponsors.

David's Family at Walk Like MADD

The walk is everything that I expected it to be, and more. It allows us to all come together to honor and celebrate our loved ones. You are able to meet others who understand your pain and find out that you are not alone.

I do not want David to have died in vain. I want to bring awareness to the dangers of drunk driving. Raising more awareness can only be done if we help raise the money to help fund MADD programs. The deaths by drunk driving are 100% preventable. MADD has so many services to help those affected by drunk driving. I share David’s story with you in the hope that you will see the work we still have to do to save lives like his.

I could not have done this without the support of all my family and friends. My family supports MADD and hopes that by walking and raising awareness we can spare someone else this heartache. I don’t want anyone to feel the pain and loss that my family has suffered.

Everyone tells me how strong I am. You don’t know how strong you are until you have to be.


Why We’re Here: Krystal Foster

On December 17, 2004, Krystal Foster’s husband Chris and daughter Raven picked her up from work at 10:30 p.m. Thirteen minutes later, they were hit by an underage drunk driver.

The driver was high on drugs and had a BAC that was twice the legal limit. He was driving the wrong way on the freeway at 110 miles per hour – and hit their car head on. Krystal was not expected to live through the night. She was in a coma for the next 30 days. It was only after she awoke that she found out what happened...

Christopher, the love of her life, died on the way to the hospital. Krystal was still in a coma when they held his funeral.

Krystal’s daughter Raven suffered traumatic brain injury and shock. At only five years old, she saw her step-dad die in front of her and her mother critically injured.  Krystal was also pregnant at the time of the crash, but the impact caused a miscarriage.

“When I woke up 30 days later to find out my husband was gone, I lost our child and my daughter had been hurt and without me or her step-dad, I was inconsolable,” Krystal said.

When Krystal woke up from the coma, she received the care package from MADD along with a “We Care Card.” “It was really a huge blessing to me,” Krystal says.

Krystal’s life was totally changed forever that night. And in the last 10 years since the crash, Krystal has received continued support from MADD to help deal with those changes. She has used MADD’s online victim services tools to connect with other victims and survivors. She found guidance to help her deal with survivor’s guilt and cope with her injury.

Krystal says that being a police dispatcher and helping victims of drunk driving crashes and working for the community, she never thought that she would be a victim. But we know that two out of three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime.

Krystal now volunteers with MADD Ohio and shares her story of loss and how she and her daughter Raven have defied the odds and overcame their injuries.

If you are interested in becoming a MADD volunteer to share your story or help further MADD’s mission, you can learn more or sign up at

Partnering with Uber for a Safe Fourth

MADD and Uber are celebrating our one-year anniversary of working together to keep families and the roads safe. This July 4th, MADD wants to thank all of the Uber driver-partners for being a go-to option when someone needs a non-drinking designated driver.

Uber drivers are designated drivers—and that’s worth some fireworks!

But what’s heartbreaking is that American’s who are out enjoying our nation’s freedoms have their freedom to live taken away due to one person’s choice to drink and drive. Every year, nearly 200 people are killed in drunk driving crashes during the Fourth of July holiday. MADD wants that number to be zero – no more victims.

Uber is helping us through a nationwide radio public service holiday campaign, asking everyone to support our important mission by taking the pledge to not drink and drive. In addition, Uber will match all donations made through this campaign during the holiday weekend, up to $25,000! 

Janet, one of Uber’s driver-partners, was an ambulance medic for over 20 years. During that time, she responded to thousands of tragedies, many of which involved drunk driving. Listen to the radio ad where Janet says she drives with Uber to prevent those crashes before they happen.

We are proud to work with Uber on this important awareness campaign to remind everyone that drunk driving is 100% preventable, and to always designate a non-drinking driver if your plans include alcohol.

Thank you to Uber and their driver-partners for helping keep our cities safe this Fourth of July!

MADD Asks North Carolina to Pass a Tougher Drunk Driving Law

Today, MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church and MADD North Carolina Executive Director LaRonda Scott were joined by two dozen volunteers for a Lobby Day and Press Conference in Raleigh to urge the North Carolina General Assembly to pass a tougher drunk driving law.

North Carolina needs SB 619/HB 877 to expand the ignition interlock law to all convicted drunk drivers. Currently, North Carolina requires ignition interlocks for repeat offenders, those who refuse a chemical test and first-time offenders with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 and above.

Nearly one-third of traffic deaths in North Carolina were caused by a drunk driver in 2013. That year, 371 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes across the state.

More must be done, Sheehey-Church told the crowd.

“We can’t wait another year to stop the carnage that on average claims one life every day in North Carolina,” she said.

The MADD volunteers will visit legislators throughout the day to share their stories and ask them to update North Carolina’s law.

MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church with North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest

Give the Gift of a Safe Ride Home This Fourth of July

We don’t usually think of the Fourth of July as a holiday for exchanging gifts. But today, we’re asking you to change that tradition.

You see, the most generous gift you can give—on this holiday weekend or any day of the year—is the gift of safety. So as you prepare for your celebrations in the upcoming days, please download a Non-Drinking Designated Driver Coupon and present it to someone you love.

Planning ahead is the best way to make sure parties are both fun and safe. By offering to give someone you care about the gift of a ride home, they can celebrate carefree. And you can save a life. 

Every year, nearly 200 people are killed in drunk driving crashes during the July Fourth holiday. But when you offer to be a non-drinking designated driver, you can change that statistic. So please present someone you care about with a Non-Drinking Designated Driver Coupon this Fourth of July. And encourage your friends and family to do the same.

It doesn’t cost you a thing to give the gift of a designated driver. But if you allow a friend to drink and drive, it might cost them their life. So please plan ahead and offer to be a non-drinking driver before the celebrations begin.

Texas Becomes 25th State to Enact All-Offender Interlock Law

Last week, Governor Greg Abbott signed HB 2246 into law, requiring drunk drivers to install an ignition interlock if they choose to drive during their license suspension period following an arrest. The governor’s action makes Texas the 25th state in the nation to enact an all-offender ignition interlock law.

The Texas Senate unanimously passed HB 2246 on May 27, following a House vote of 143-1 on May 5. With the Governor’s signature, the law goes into effect this September.

“This is a great day for Texas, the home state of MADD’s national headquarters,” said MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church. “I will be forever grateful to Representative Jason Villalba, Senator Joan Huffman and all of the MADD supporters who worked tirelessly to pass this life-saving law, and I want to thank Governor Abbott. I hope other states, such as North Carolina, Ohio, California, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, will soon follow Texas’ lead and pass all-offender ignition interlock laws.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 40 percent of all traffic deaths in Texas are caused by a drunk driver. Texas led the nation in drunk driving deaths in 2013, when 1,337 people were killed by a drunk driver.

MADD supports the use of ignition interlocks for all offenders — instead of license suspension alone — because studies show that license suspensions are difficult to enforce and often ignored. Interlocks protect the public while allowing offenders to continue with their jobs, family obligations and other responsibilities.

“Ignition interlocks have reduced drunk driving deaths in other states by 30 to 45 percent,” said Jaime Gutierrez, MADD Texas Executive Director. “This bill could save hundreds of lives in Texas, where too many families have suffered tragic losses at the hands of a drunk driver.”

As part of MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® launched in 2006, MADD’s top legislative push in states is enacting all-offender interlock laws like HB 2246. When the campaign was launched, only one state, New Mexico, had such a law. Nine years later, Texas becomes the 25th state enact this lifesaving law.

Visit to see if your state is one of the 25, and if not, contact your lawmakers now about this lifesaving legislation.


Celebrating DADSS this Father’s Day

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

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

Watch the video to learn more about DADSS:

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

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

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

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

Portraits for Healing

We are pleased to share with you a new opportunity for victims and survivors to honor loved ones killed or injured in drunk and drugged driving crashes: the Portraits for Healing program.

With a minimum $50 donation that goes directly to MADD Victim Services, victims and survivors will receive a hand-sketched portrait of their loved one created by Artist Bill Small of Danville, CA, a MADD volunteer generously donating his time and talents to provide this healing opportunity. All donations received through the Portraits for Healing program will help provide free support services to those affected by these preventable crimes.

Bill Small has agreed to donate 200 portraits a year to MADD, so order your portrait now at to be one of this year’s recipients.

New Report Shows Steady Decline in Underage Drinking

A new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows a significant decline in the level of underage alcohol consumption, as well as a drop in underage binge drinking.

The survey, which examined past month underage alcohol consumption over the years 2002 to 2013, found underage drinking among all U.S. residents from age 12 through 20 dropped by 21%. And underage binge drinking decreased by even more.

Despite this reduction, however, alcohol is still the drug of choice for teens. More people aged 12 to 20 currently use alcohol (22.7%) than use tobacco (16.9%) or illicit drugs (13.6%).

This once again supports the importance of parents talking to their kids about alcohol, early and often. 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 to download our Parent Handbook and get tips and tools to help you have this lifesaving conversation about alcohol with your kids.

The study also reinforces that despite what teens may think, when it comes to drinking, not everybody is doing it.  In fact, more than two out of three teens DON’T drink alcohol.

This is an especially important message this time of year. With more free time and potentially less supervision during summer vacation, kids may find themselves in situations that involve alcohol. It is important for teens to know that drinking is dangerous, illegal and not necessary to fit in. Our teen booklet, the 411 on Teen Drinking, contains useful information to help teens resist peer pressure, influence other teens to not drink before age 21 and never get in the car with someone who’s been drinking. Click here to download this free booklet for teens.

The report, Underage Drinking Declined Between 2002 and 2013 is based on SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health report, an annual national survey of 67,500 Americans aged 12 and older.  For a copy of the full report go to:

2015 President’s Awards

Tonight, we concluded our 2015 National Conference with the MADD National President’s Awards—the highest honors given by our organization. MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church presented awards to 17 volunteers and staff who have shown outstanding dedication, and have gone above and beyond what was asked of them.

Congratulations to the 2015 President’s Awards recipients:

Norris and Aline Skelley from MADD Tennessee received the prestigious Golden Achievement Award, the highest award given to MADD volunteers. This husband and wife team are two extraordinary individuals who have honored their brother’s memory through organizing Candlelight Vigils, speaking at Victim Impact Panels, fundraising for Walk Like MADD® events, advocating for victims and raising awareness in any way possible.

Maria Esteves from MADD New Jersey earned the Brenda Altman Heart of MADD Award for her service as the chair of the MADD New Jersey State Advisory Board for the past three years and for serving as a volunteer for MADD for more than 23 years after the death of her 8-year-old daughter to a drunk driver. Esteves has provided victim support, advocacy and has served as the principle facilitator for the Victim Impact Panel in the state of New Jersey.

David and Karen Longstreet from South Carolina were awarded the Chuck Hurley Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® Award for their unwavering efforts to ensure the passage of ignition interlock legislation in South Carolina; “Emma’s Law” which is named after their six-year-old daughter Emma who died after a repeat offender hit their family’s car on New Year’s Day.

Sergeant Michael Iwai with Oregon State Patrol received the Outstanding Heroes Award – Individual for his dedication to growing Oregon’s Drug Recognition Expert, or DRE, program. Sergeant Iwai was the first certified DRE in his county and has served as an instructor since 2002.

Roanoke County Police Department, Roanoke, VA won the Outstanding Heroes Award – Agency for their ongoing, proactive approach to impaired driving enforcement; as a result of their dedication, overall arrests are down by more than 30 percent since 2010.

Jaime Esparza from El Paso, Texas received the Outstanding Criminal Justice Award – Prosecutor for his devotion to provide ongoing support to the victims of drunk and drugged driving; and for his initiative to educate community members on Texas’ No Refusal Law.

Judge Rebecca Simpson from Longview, Texas won the Outstanding Criminal Justice Award – Judge for her assertive and firm approach that ensures that first time drunk driving offenders won’t become repeat offenders; she has less than one percent dismissal rate for all impaired driving offenders.

Bud Zaouk, Director of Transportation Solutions for QinetiQ North America was presented with the Ralph W. Hingson Research in Practice Award for his work to develop advanced technology, known as the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, or DADSS. The research by this award winner will lead to the eventual ending of drunk driving.

MADD New Mexico won the Excellence in Diversity Award for their outreach to diverse audiences to serve victims and survivors of drunk driving, drugged driving and underage drinking. MADD New Mexico hosted an advanced victim services training with a focus on Native American court systems; and Power of Youth presentations in Spanish through partnerships with local schools.

Amy Voelker, Patricia Voelker and Ginger Brengle earned the Linda Kitazaki Fundraising Achievement Award – Volunteer for turning the tragedy of losing a father and his three sons into a triumph by raising critical funds to help MADD end drunk driving once and for all. Each of these three family members are awarded for their commitment to Walk Like MADD events in their communities.

Heather Smith from MADD Southeast Texas was presented with the Linda Kitazaki Fundraising Achievement Award – Staff for her leadership in growing both revenue and capacity, and achieving or exceeding all fundraising goals in order to serve more victims and provide additional programs at no charge to the community. Both fundraising awards were sponsored by Chapman Cubine Adams + Hussey (CCAH).

Phaedra Marriott-Olsen from MADD Tennessee was awarded the Micky Sadoff Award – Underage Drinking Prevention for her passion to prevent underage drinking by speaking to 20,985 students in 31 schools and youth retreats all across the state of Tennessee.

Alex Otte from MADD Kentucky earned the Youth Activist of the Year Award for her commitment to serving on the MADD National Teen Influencer Group, and her instrumental role in helping Kentucky pass its first ever ignition interlock legislation.

Eric Pitts from MADD National won the Robert C. Shearouse Employee of the Year Award – National Office for his role as the IT Software Support Specialist where he consistently provides outstanding customer service while working to find a solution to any software issue.

Pamela Sell from MADD Arkansas was awarded the Robert C. Shearouse Employee of the Year Award – Field for her initiative in building volunteer capacity, Arkansas’ Victim Impact Panel program and MADD Arkansas as a whole.

MADD Florida received the Field Entity of the Year Award – State for excelling in all areas of MADD’s mission. MADD Florida has gone above and beyond in serving victims, implementing the Power of Parents and Power of You(th) programs, and exceeding fundraising goals with their Walk Like MADD events.

MADD West Virginia – Wheeling Chapter was presented with the Field Entity of the Year Award – Volunteer Chapter for their continued growth in reaching the state of West Virginia despite having low capacity with one MADD staff member and dedicated volunteers.

Also as part of the President’s Awards dinner, MADD honored past National Presidents Karolyn Nunnallee, Millie Webb, Wendy Hamilton, Glynn Birch, Laura Dean Mooney, Jan Withers, and MADD Canada President Angeliki Souranis.


MADD About You

Today’s Luncheon at our National Conference honoring MADD’s volunteers was titled “MADD About You.” That’s because we’re truly MADD about our volunteers—both here with us at conference and the rest of our volunteers all across the country.

Often times MADD is considered the lifeline for those who have experienced a violent crime of death or injury due to drunk or drugged driving or underage drinking. But to MADD, volunteers are our lifeblood. They are the driving force that keeps MADD growing and thriving; they are at the foundation of how the mission work is accomplished on a daily basis.

We had a special guest from MADD’s history show up today at the Luncheon to help us thank our MADD volunteers... MADD Man!

MADD Man brought with him a fun activity for all of the luncheon attendees to participate in to help keep each other motivated and inspired. Each person wrote a note of encouragement on a piece of paper, placed it in a balloon and tossed in the air. Then, all together, the balloons were popped to reveal the note.


No matter how many times we say it, we can never say it enough; we are indebted to all of our volunteers for your exceptional and tireless work with MADD in saving lives and preventing countless injuries due to drunk and drugged driving. It’s you who inspire other victims and non-victims to join our ranks, stand shoulder to shoulder and walk step by step to create a future of No More Victims.

If you are interested in becoming a MADD volunteer, or even just learning more, visit

The Power to Prevent Underage Drinking

Today’s breakfast event at our National Conference was all about how underage drinking prevention plays a critical role in creating a future of No More Victims™. Families here at our National Conference, and those across the country, are why we work so hard to prevent underage drinking. As well as for all of the teens killed because of underage drinking due to heartbreaking tragedies like crashes, alcohol poisoning, fires, falls, drownings and sexual assaults.

Dr. Robert Turrisi, with Pennsylvania State University, joined us to provide a look at some of the latest research. Dr. Turrisi is a leading researcher on underage drinking, and his breakthrough and lifesaving work is the foundation on which we developed the Power of Parents® program.

A panel of MADD staff and volunteers also took the stage to provide real life examples of MADD’s underage drinking prevention efforts at work in communities across the country. The panel was led by MADD National Board Member Brad Bulla, who is a frequent speaker on victim impact panels and a force for stronger drunk driving laws in his home state of Tennessee. Brad’s son Jed was killed by a drunk driver on August 3, 2005.

Panelists include:

  • MADD Tennessee Program Manager Phaedra Marriott-Olsen. Phaedra has been with MADD since 1996, shortly after a drunk driving crash caused her multiple, life-altering injuries. Phaedra persevered, though, and began volunteering for MADD before joining the MADD Missouri staff and then transferring to MADD Tennessee. She has led the charge to implement Power of Parents and Power of You(th) in her community.
  • Alex Otte, a member of MADD’s National Teen Influencer Group. Alex is from Kentucky, and just graduated from high school. She has participated in state legislative efforts with MADD for stronger ignition interlock laws, and regularly uses the Power of You(th) to make an impact in her community.
  • Peter McShane, a MADD volunteer from Connecticut and community partner who was instrumental in getting the “Start Making a Right Turn™” or SMART program off the ground, which helps youth offenders and their parents make a turn in the right direction, in order to protect their – as well as others’ – futures. Peter has been involved with MADD since 1988 and is a State’s Attorney in Connecticut.
  • MADD Volunteer and former MADD National Board Member Kathryn Stewart. Kathryn is a leading voice for MADD’s Power of Community program. She has worked with MADD since 1990, providing input based on her scientific work in the impaired driving and underage drinking fields. Kathryn currently serves as the Director of Scientific Dissemination for the Prevention Research Center, part of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.

Underage drinking prevention may be the last prong listed in MADD’s mission, but it is by no means the least. It takes time and patience. But we are confident that MADD can and will empower school-aged youth today—called generation Z—to make smart, healthy choices about alcohol before they turn 21.

That means they will be less likely to be drinking drivers as adults… That means we’re preventing the next generation of offenders and future victims. 


Click here to learn more about our underage drinking prevention programs, and get our handbooks for parents and teens.

Partner Recognition and Media Awards at MADD Difference Makers Luncheon

The 2015 MADD Media Recognition Award winners are as follows:

Katie Couric, for her segment on “Teens and Alcohol” on the syndicated talk show Katie. The segment featured former MADD National President Jan Withers, MADD National Board Member and college student Monica Vandehei and the bereaved parents of an 18-year-old boy who died in an underage drunk driving crash.

Dennis Thompson, Staff Writer, HealthDay, for his four published online articles which raised awareness of MADD’s mission. Thompson’s articles covered underage drinking, child endangerment, drugged driving and more.

Heidi Hemmat, Investigative Reporter, Fox 31 (Denver, CO), for her in-depth research on repeat offenders and nine months of preparation to finalize the segment which shined a light on repeat offenders in Colorado, and also highlighted the need for a Felony DUI law in the state.

Connoisseur Media (Long Island, NY), for their ongoing partnership with MADD New York to spread the word about local efforts through interviews and PSAs with MADD New York staff members and the former and the current MADD National President.

Providence Journal (Providence, RI), for their eight published articles in 2014 highlighting underage drinking, MADD Candlelight Vigils and more, ultimately helping MADD Rhode Island reach a larger audience.

The 2015 MADD Partner Recognition Awards are as follows:

Presenting Partners recognized were National Football League, Nationwide and State Farm insurance. Velocity/Discovery Communications was honored as a National Media Partner. Supporting Partners included GM Foundation, GuideOne Insurance and Uber Technologies, Inc. Contributing Partners recognized were DG Group, Google, Lyft, MADD Canada and NABCA. Strategic Alliance Partners included American Grandparents Association, CarChex, DialAmerica and MADD Virgin Drinks. The 2015 MADD National Conference Sponsors were also recognized. These include: Chapman Cubine Adams + Hussey, Google, GuideOne, MADD Virgin Drinks, OneAmerica, Staples, The Heritage Company, Toyota and US Coachways.