MADD


MADD

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.


What is BAC?

Originally featured in the 2014 fall edition of MADDvocate.

It’s becoming more common to find breath testing devices used to measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in bars and in private homes thanks to modern technology. But what is BAC and should you rely on these types of devices to determine whether you are sober enough to drive home?

BAC refers to the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood. It is measured as weight of alcohol per unit of volume of blood. Typically this measurement is converted to a percentage such as .10 percent, which means that one-tenth of a percent of a person’s blood is alcohol. The legal BAC limit throughout the United States is .08, although laws and penalties vary among states. Alcohol, which is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, can be measured within 30 to 70 minutes after a person has had a drink.

According to Jim Fell, senior research scientist with the Pacific Institute for Research & Evaluation, how quickly your BAC rises depends on a variety of factors including the number of drinks you have, how fast you drink, your gender, your age, your weight and whether you have food in your stomach.

Still, the more you drink the more steadily your ability to safely drive a motor vehicle decreases. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the risk of a driver with BAC between .08 and .10 having a fatal single-vehicle crash is at least 11 times greater than for drivers with a BAC of zero.

Still the Safest Course: Planning Ahead

Given the danger of driving under the influence, should you rely on personal BAC testing devices to determine whether you are below the legal limit? While the idea may seem like a good one, MADD does not support the use of personal alcohol tests to help drivers make decisions about their ability to drive after consuming alcohol.

Here’s why.

First, many personal BAC testing devices may not be accurate. Less expensive breath testers use semiconductor sensors rather than the more expensive fuel cell sensors in most commercial-grade breath testers used by law enforcement. This has caused some worry about reliability.

Additionally, commercial -grade devices (used by the police) are checked and maintained regularly, something that may not be happening with personal testers.

Second, if you measure your BAC in a bar and the reading comes up .06, you may think you’re fine to have one more drink, which can end up being a big mistake. Impairment begins with the first drink, so it’s always dangerous to try to stay “one sip under the limit.”

Finally, BAC climbs with time after consuming alcohol until you stop. If you consume several shots of alcohol and test your BAC immediately after having those drinks, the reading could be under the limit, but in 30 minutes, the likelihood is that the reading will be much higher. Making choices about drinking and driving based on personal alcohol testing is dangerous even if the intention is good. That’s why planning ahead is vitally important. If you’re going to drink, the only safe course of action is to plan for a safe way home before you start drinking, whether it’s a non-drinking designated driver, a cab, a car service or public transportation.


Announcing New Partnership with the American Grandparents Association

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

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

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

Click here to learn more about this partnership.

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


Power of You(th) Toolkits Now Available

At MADD, we know that our hopes for a safer future are riding on tomorrow’s drivers. By getting today’s youth off to a good start, we are taking a giant step toward fulfilling our vision of a nation without drunk driving. That’s why we’re focused on tackling underage drinking, a problem that threatens the safety of our kids and endangers entire communities, now and down the road.

In anticipation of spring break and the upcoming prom and graduation season, we worked with our National Teen Influencer Group to come up with a toolkit for students, educators and community partners that offers tools to help prevent underage drinking, and the many lives lost as a result. This toolkit, sponsored by State Farm, was created and approved by teens, for teens.

Included in the toolkits you will find:

  • Fact Sheet (great for classroom discussions)
  • Contest and Daily Activity ideas
  • Alcohol free party game ideas
  • Communication templates
  • Ideas for activation around Red Ribbon Week, prom, graduation and other holidays
  • And more!

Let’s work together to empower teens and parents to take a stand against underage drinking!


The Victim’s Voice in the Criminal Justice Process

A victim impact statement is a written or oral statement made as part of the judicial legal process, which allows crime victims the opportunity to speak during the sentencing of their attacker or at subsequent parole hearings. The victim impact statement was introduced in 1982 in the final report of the President’s Task Force on Victims of Crime, which recommended that “judges allow for, and give appropriate weight to, input at sentencing from victims of violent crime.” All 50 states now allow a victim impact statement at some phase of the sentencing process.

The purpose of the victim impact statement is to allow crime victims, during the decision-making process on sentencing or parole, to describe to the court or parole board the impact of the crime. Many victims/survivors say that having the opportunity to make a victim impact statement can be a very important part of their healing journey, allowing them to write down and share what they have gone through.

The victim impact statement can be a written, or oral, detailed account of the emotional, physical and financial effects the crime has had on the victim or their family. Some required components of a victim impact statement include:

  • A clear statement of the victim’s rights
  • Statement of a victim’s physical or psychological injury and economic loss
  • Any psychological services requests as a result of the offense
  • Any change in personal welfare
  • Familial request for notification of future parole hearings

MADD Victim Advocates are valuable resources to victims in helping them develop their own victim impact statements. Victim Advocates can provide victims of drunk and drugged driving crashes with the emotional support, guidance in writing their statement, as well as accompanying the victim in delivering their victim impact statement.

Click here to download MADD’s Victim Impact Statement Booklet for more information about the importance of the victim impact statement, as well as suggestions on how to write a victim impact statement. You can also contact the MADD Help Line at 1.877.MADD.HELP or 1.877.623.3435 to speak with someone immediately or to be connected with a local MADD Victim Advocate.


New Walk Like MADD Promises Drunk Driving Ends Here

Just in time for MADD’s 35th anniversary, we are revamping our signature event, Walk Like MADD. 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 stop drunk driving in their community and nationwide.

In 2015, the focus will be on creating an even more meaningful event experience that focuses on sending a clear message: Drunk Driving Ends Here. Walkers will be able to remember what or who brought them there, feel inspired to do even more to stop this violent crime, and commit to end drunk driving in their community.

If you’ve never attended one of our Walk events, now is the time to change that. With events in over 80 cities this year, this is your chance to take an active role in eliminating drunk driving in your community. 

Go to walklikemadd.org to create a team or sign up as an individual. Every dollar raised puts us one step closer to ending drunk driving once and for all.


Super Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Why We’re Here: Shawn Brown and JaKori Turner

On February 20, 1994, Shawn Brown spent the afternoon with her 10-week-old son JaKori and sister visiting family. They were just a few miles from their house when a drunk driver, driving 60 miles per hour on the wrong side of the street, struck their car head on. The impact was so hard that everything that was in the trunk flew out the back of the car. He was trying to beat an oncoming train to the next intersection, but they later learned that there was never a train coming, the train track arms were broken.

Ten-week-old JaKori died at the hospital from his injuries, Shawn’s sister was seriously injured, and Shawn suffered a fractured skill, broke both her upper and lower jaw, as well as a broken femur. Despite being pronounced dead twice, she survived.

Shawn worked with her local MADD advocate in California throughout the court process, where the offender was sentenced to four years in prison. But it wasn’t until she moved to Georgia that felt compelled to get involved with MADD. She called the Georgia office and they immediately invited her to share her story at a Victim Impact Panel.

Shawn continues to share her story at MADD events, and participates in the Atlanta Walk Like MADD each year with team JaKori’s Angels. She also owns a bakery and has dedicated a cheesecake called “My Little Pumpkin” to JaKori, from which a portion of the proceeds are donated to MADD.

Shawn says, “If my tragedy can help others in anyway I will use it as a blessing to others. If it can save a life I would be forever humbled and grateful.”


Super Bowl Game Plan

The Super Bowl is America’s most watched national sporting event – bringing together families, friends and fans each year to enjoy the excitement of the big game. But unfortunately, it’s also one of the most dangerous days on the road because of drunk driving.

In 2013, Super Bowl Sunday was the second deadliest time of the year for drunk driving deaths—ahead of St. Patrick’s Day. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, half of all traffic fatalities on Super Bowl Sunday (and the early hours of the following morning) in 2013 were caused by drunk driving, compared to 42 percent, or 46 deaths, the year before.

MADD wants everyone to enjoy the game this year, but more importantly, we want everyone to get home from the celebration safely.  So if you’re hosting a Super Bowl watching party this Sunday, use these tips to be a champion host, or if you’re attending a party, check out our checklist to help you plan ahead.


No matter how you celebrate or who you cheer for, don’t ruin the day by getting a DUI, or much worse. If you're game plan includes alcohol, make sure you plan ahead with a non-drinking designated driver to help get everyone home safe after the game.

This Sunday, Uber will donate $1 to MADD for every trip taken nationwide between 3:00 p.m. and midnight ET when users enter the promo code THINKANDRIDE.


NFL Player Delanie Walker Shares His Story

Since Tennessee Titan Delanie Walker’s Aunt and Uncle were killed by a drunk driver just hours after watching him play in the 2012 Super Bowl, he has become a tireless advocate for MADD.

He recently shared his story for a video for the NFL:


Play the Most Important Position in the NFL—the Designated Driver!

On Super Bowl Sunday, and throughout the year, MADD encourages football fans “to play the most important position in the NFL: the designated driver.” In fact, MADD’s game-day program with the NFL helped teams increase their designated driver sign-ups by more than 18,000 in 2014.

Through our partnership with the NFL, MADD members attend select NFL football games providing information at MADD booths, as well as circulate through the parking lots promoting the importance of designating a non-drinking driver before the game begins, and encouraging fans to sign up at a designated driver booth within the stadium. 

We started the game-day partnership with the NFL in 2010 with just two teams. Now, there are 13 teams that participate: the Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, and Tennessee Titans.

One of the first two teams to partner with MADD was Buffalo Bills. In 2010, the Bills had 1,783 people sign up.  In 2014, they had 14,284 – eight times as many.

We are proud of the success of this game day program and are grateful to the NFL for partnering with MADD to help raise awareness about the dangers of drunk driving. We also appreciate NFL teams who have raised awareness in their communities, like the Atlanta Falcons, who have participated in the Atlanta Walk Like MADD event with an 80-person team, supported MADD's Power of Parents programs, sponsored MADD Georgia's Teen Influencers program, and participated MADD Georgia's state law enforcement recognition event, and the Denver Broncos, who have supported law enforcement recognition events and Walk Like MADD.

This Super Bowl Sunday, what position will you play? Sign up online now to play the most important position in the NFL—the designated driver!


Making Our Roads Safer—For Everyone

Nearly 300,000 people drive drunk every single day. That’s enough to fill the University of Phoenix Stadium more than four times over. With the big game approaching, it’s a stark reminder Super Bowl Sunday consistently ranks as one of the most dangerous times of year for drunk driving deaths.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. A new report conducted in partnership with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reveals that when empowered with more transportation options like Uber, people are making better choices that save lives.

Here are the key takeaways from the report: More Options. Shifting Mindsets. Driving Better Choices:

  • In California, Uber’s home state and largest market, drunk-driving crashes fell by 60 per month among drivers under 30 in the markets where Uber operates following the launch of UberX. That’s an estimated total of 1,800 crashes prevented since July 2012.
  • 78% of all respondents to a survey agreed that friends are less likely to drive drunk since the arrival of ridesharing services like Uber to their city
  • Nearly everyone surveyed -- 93% -- would recommend their friends take Uber instead of driving if they’d been drinking alcohol

The new report found ridesharing is having a significant impact across America’s cities, providing people with smarter alternatives to getting behind the wheel if their plans include alcohol. In Miami, Uber ridership is peaking at the same hour that historically has been the worst for drunk driving. In Pittsburgh, demand for Uber spikes at closing time for bars. In Chicago, three-fourths of Uber trips on New Year’s Eve were requested within ⅛ mile of establishments with liquor licenses.

Uber and MADD are working toward a world where a safe ride is always within reach and where drunk driving is a thing of the past.

While we’ve still got a lot of work to do, we’re making progress together toward the goal of reliable rides and safer roads for everyone. The results in California echo similar good news out of Seattle, where we found the arrival of Uber helped reduce drunk driving arrests by 10%. And with the Big Game coming up, we’re encouraging fans of all stripes to make the right call this Super Bowl Sunday by planning to get home safe. Uber will donate $1 to MADD for every trip taken on Sunday, February 1, 2015 between 3:00 PM and 12:00 AM ET when users enter the promo code ThinkandRide.

To learn more, download the report, and spread the word on Facebook and Twitter.



Help Line Volunteer: Colleen Sheehey-Church

The MADD Help Line, 1-877-MADD-HELP, is available 24/7 for victims and survivors of drunk and drugged driving crashes because of dedicated volunteers—volunteers like MADD’s new National President, Colleen Sheehey-Church.

Colleen started volunteering as a Help Line advocate nearly a year ago because she wanted to be more connected to those in need of support. When her son Dustin was killed in a crash 10 years ago, connecting with MADD was what helped her learn to cope with the grief. As a Help Line advocate, she helps victims and survivors understand that what they are feeling is normal – that they aren’t going crazy.

On the Help Line, Colleen has spent time serving not only victims, but also callers looking for advice about what to do when someone they know drives drunk. She has heard that fear in someone’s voice and has been able to provide the assistance needed over the phone.

Colleen says that there has never been a call she didn’t like, that the Help Line is not just a Help Line, but really a lifeline for the people who are calling. Despite her new role as National President, Colleen plans to continue volunteering for the Help Line.

Click here to learn more about the Victim/Survivor Help Line or MADD’s Victim Services.


2015 Report to the Nation

We are excited to share with you MADD's Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving: 2015 Report to the Nation.The report provides an overview of legislative accomplishments, highlights state-by-state drunk driving reform, and provides a glimpse of what’s on the horizon as MADD enters its 35th year.

The report also highlights federal ignition interlock grant dollars, established as part of the 2012 federal highway bill, known as MAP-21, which could be available to states that pass laws requiring all convicted drunk drivers to install interlock devices.

A key feature of the report is the five-star rating of each state, based on the adoption of five proven DUI countermeasures:

  1. Requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers
  2. Conducting sobriety checkpoints
  3. Creating enhanced penalties for those who drive drunk with children in the vehicle
  4. Participating in “no-refusal” activities for those suspected of drunk driving
  5. Utilizing Administrative License Revocation for drunk driving offenders

The Campaign’s impact is evident. This year, 13 states were awarded five stars for their enactment of drunk driving laws or implementation of proven countermeasures. Click here to read the report and see how many stars your state received.

But we know that our work is far from over. This year, we want to make even more progress through MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving by advocating for mandatory ignition interlock laws in the 26 states without these lifesaving laws, continuing to support law enforcement efforts to catch and deter drunk drivers, and encouraging the development of in-vehicle technology that will one day make drunk driving impossible.

Thanks to your tremendous support, 2015 promises to bring a year of change and growth as we celebrate 35 years of saving lives!


NTSB’s 2015 Most Wanted List

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently released its 2015 Most Wanted List, which represents the NTSB's advocacy priorities. It is designed to increase awareness of, and support for, the most critical changes needed to reduce transportation incidents and save lives.

One of the items in their top 10 list is to eliminate substance-impaired driving, which includes both drunk and/or drugged driving.

MADD thanks the NTSB for its ongoing support of MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® and inclusion of substance-impaired driving on the list. We look forward to continuing our work with the NTSB to eliminate drunk driving and fight drugged driving. 

The full top 10 list includes:

  1. Disconnect from Deadly Distractions
  2. Make Mass Transit Safer
  3. Improve Rail Tank Car Safety
  4. End Substance-Impaired Driving
  5. Strengthen Commercial Trucking Safety
  6. Strengthen Procedural Compliance
  7. Prevent Loss-of-Control in General Aviation
  8. Implement Positive Train Control in 2015
  9. Require Medical Fitness for Duty
  10. Enhance Public Helicopter Safety

Click here to visit the NTSB’s website to learn more about their 2015 Most Wanted List.


Concerned Citizens: The First Line of Defense to Stop Drunk Driving and Underage Drinking

Originally featured in the 2014 fall edition of MADDvocate®.

A concerned citizen is anyone who cares about keeping the community where they live safe from drunk and drugged drivers.

Perhaps you’ve seen media coverage of a particular story that makes you want to get involved. Or maybe you are concerned about a neighbor, family member, friend or co-worker who you believe drinks and drives, but are not sure what to do about it.

Here are some ways you can make a difference, as a concerned citizen:

  • Call the police anytime you see someone drinking and driving. The more legitimate calls to your local law enforcement, the more likely the impaired driver will be apprehended.
  • Have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle if your name is on the title of a vehicle being driven by an alleged drunk driver.
  • If you know a person is on probation for drunk driving and you see him or her driving impaired, contact the individual’s probation office in the county in which the offense occurred to alert authorities to the driver’s actions.
  • Call the Alcohol Beverage Control Board in your state to register a complaint if you witness a local establishment allowing underage drinking.

For other useful tips on who to call and what you can do, email victims@madd.org to request a prevention brochure. You can also sign up to become a MADD volunteer and work to prevent drunk driving in your community. Together, we can save lives.

We need every voice in the fight against drunk driving. Click here to find out the many ways you can help.


Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

Today is the first ever National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day—a time to show support to law enforcement officers that serve to protect our community.

High-visibility law enforcement techniques that catch drunk and drugged drivers and discourage others from driving drunk are part of our Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®These techniques have been proven to reduce drunk driving deaths by 20 percentThat is why MADD works so closely with the officers who keep our families safe on and off the roads

Join us in honoring the heroes who keep our roads safe by sharing this image on your social channels:

 

Tweet: 10,076 people were killed last year in drunk driving crashes. RT to help raise awareness. http://ctt.ec/Jcr49+ http://ctt.ec/7ZBHt+

 


Meet MADD’s New National President

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

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

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

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

Read Colleen’s bio.


New Fatality Data & Campaign Report Show Progress

Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released the 2013 state-by-state fatality data. Nationally, drunk driving fatalities decreased from 10,322 in 2012 to 10,076 in 2013. Despite this progress, 31 percent of all fatalities in 2013 involved a drunk driver, meaning that nearly one out of three fatalities resulted from this 100 percent preventable crime.

Since the launch of MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®, 24 states have passed an all offender ignition interlock law, and drunk driving deaths are down by more than 24 percent since 2006. The Campaign calls for more high visibility law enforcement through sobriety checkpoints, all convicted drunk drivers to use an ignition interlock device, and the development of advanced vehicle technology, like the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS), which one day can eliminate drunk driving completely.

Next week, MADD will be releasing the 2015 Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving Report to the Nation, which provides an overview of legislative accomplishments, highlights state-by-state drunk driving reform, and provides a glimpse of what is on the horizon. The report rates each state based on the adoption of five proven DUI countermeasures. So be on the lookout next week for this exciting new information!


Why We Walk: Meagan Ahlstrom

By Rebecca L. Ahlstrom

Leo and I have been married for 33 years and have three children, Aaron, Meagan, and Melody. Early on Sunday morning, June 14, 2009, our worst nightmare collided with our family. What was an innocent road trip turned tragic within seconds! Meagan and I were traveling back from visiting family and were only one hour from home. I had asked Meagan to drive that last hour—we didn’t make it 1½ miles down the county highway before a drunk driver who had passed out at the wheel came barreling for us. There was NO escaping the inevitable. Meagan turned the wheel at the last second and took the brunt of the hit, sacrificing her life for mine. Our daughter died instantly. I suffered seven broken ribs and was beaten up pretty badly but lived.

Meagan was only 24 at the time—an innocent victim of a senseless, selfish, and indescribably painful crime. A crime that has since impacted thousands of family and friends across the U.S. The other driver was sentenced to 5 ½ years in state prison. Our inconceivable loss could have torn our family apart but instead we chose to rally together and let God bring good from a tragic situation.

The following year, in an effort to honor her dearest cousin, our niece Brynn registered “TEAM MEAGAN” for the Walk Like MADD in Nashville. Personalized purple t-shirts were printed to raise support (purple became our team color) and our fundraising began with photos of Meagan, individual pleas through social media including the MADD Team link have been quite successful. Through overwhelming support, each year we have exceeded our TEAM MEAGAN goal. As top team, we have had the opportunity to share “Our Story” from the platform a few years now.

TEAM MEAGAN at the 2011 Nashville Walk Like MADD


As Meagan’s mother, what drives me is my faith and a fierce love for my daughter. Meagan was passionate about life, people, family, and her God. She was making a difference in this world and still is! Like Meagan, we too want to make a difference—part of making a difference is supporting MADD and their efforts to put an end to such crimes.

Our involvement with MADD has affirmed to us in a very personal way that we are not alone in our journey. Not only have we met many others who share the pain of losing a loved one to an alcohol-related tragedy, but we have also experienced overwhelming support from so many friends, family, business associates, church members, and other caring, sympathetic hearts. Beyond all that MADD is accomplishing, at Walk Like MADD the interaction between teams is inspiring, and the hugs to and from other victims fill in the gaps where words just fall so short.

To read some of Meagan’s writings, check out the family’s Facebook page in her honor: www.facebook.com/groups/MeaganAhlstrom/

The Ahlstrom Family

Our faith has challenged us to forgive the other driver and not allow hate and anger to cripple us as a family. We have a choice every day to serve God well and to promote “good choices”.

 

 


MADD Turns 35 in 2015

Happy New Year to you and your family! 2015 promises to bring a year of change, growth and celebration as MADD celebrates 35 years of saving lives.

But our work is far from over. While drunk driving deaths have been cut in half, we know that even one life lost to this entirely preventable crime is one life too many. In 2015, we want to make even more progress through MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® by advocating for mandatory ignition interlock laws in the 26 states without these lifesaving laws, continuing to support law enforcement efforts to catch and deter drunk drivers, and encouraging the development of in-vehicle technology that will one day make drunk driving impossible.

New in 2015:

Here’s to 35 years of saving lives and a future where there are no more victims, no more families impacted by this 100 percent preventable crime.