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.
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!
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 madd.org/volunteer.
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
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.
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 madd.org/takeaction to see if your state is one of the 25, and if not, contact your lawmakers now about this lifesaving legislation.
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.
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 madd.org/portraitsforhealing to be one of this year’s recipients.
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 madd.org/powerofparents to download our Parent Handbook and get tips and tools to help you have this lifesaving conversation about alcohol with your kids.
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: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/report_1978/Spotlight-1978.pdf
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.
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.
- 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.
For them… DRUNK DRIVING WILL BE A THING OF THE PAST.
Click here to learn more about our underage drinking prevention programs, and get our handbooks for parents and teens.
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 madd.org/volunteer.
This morning we officially kicked off the 2015 National Conference with our Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® breakfast.
At the event, we shared a special video on the DADSS technology created from footage taken at the 35th Anniversary event on Thursday.
Please watch and share this video to help spread the word about the importance of this lifesaving technology.
Today at National Conference we held a very special luncheon to honor MADD Difference Makers – our partners who make MADD’s work possible. Recognition awards were given to 22 of our partners, and five media awards were given to our teammates in the media. Click here to see a full list of award recipients.
NFL Player Delanie Walker shared how his aunt and uncle, Alice and Bryan Young, were killed by a drunk driver after watching Delanie play in the Super Bowl in 2013. The former San Francisco 49er and now Tennessee Titan, Delanie knows first-hand the devastation that drunk driving can bring, and we were honored that he was able to join us in DC to provide an important mission moment to the crowd.
“I want to do everything in my power to stop another family from getting a phone call that changes their lives forever,” Walker said.
Afterwards, Delanie stayed on stage and was joined by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss MADD’s partnership with the league, which began in 2009. What began as a pilot program with two teams to work together on game-day designated driver programs, has expanded to almost half of the teams in the league in some form.
“It’s all about making sure the experience for our fans is a safe and exciting one,” Goodell said. “We have made progress but have more work to do to ensure that everyone associated with the NFL makes safe, responsible decisions with alcohol and never gets behind the wheel when they shouldn’t.”
MADD Chief Executive Officer Debbie Weir praised the both Delanie and Commissioner Goodell’s commitment to the issue and expressed gratitude to for all that they have done to help raise awareness for our mission.
MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church ended the luncheon with a quote from Green Bay Packers Coach Vince Lombardi’s: “Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” Thank you to all of MADD’s partners and supporters for being a part of the elimination of drunk driving.
Today’s luncheon was sponsored by Google.
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.
Tonight at our National Conference, we gathered together to remember and celebrate the lives of those who have been impacted by drunk and drugged driving and underage drinking. Seven of MADD’s Presidents spoke and shared inspirational poems, while the Arlington Children’s Chorus provided the music.
We also released our new Victim Service PSA, which is the first new PSA for MADD Victim Services in over 10 years.
Please watch and share this new PSA to help victims and survivors of drunk and drugged driving crashes know that they’ll always have a place at MADD.
A special thanks to the families who helped make this new PSA possible:
- Gwendolyn and Louis Edwards for honoring their son Louis Jarrod who was tragically killed in a drunk driving crash in November of 2010.
- June Monkhouse and her grandson Joshua Tisdale for honoring Kelly Tisdale, a daughter and a mother, who was tragically killed as a pedestrian in a drugged driving crash in September 2011.
- Hermelinda and Juan Martinez for sharing Hermelinda’s sister Maria Vazquez’s story with us. Maria was killed by a drunk driver on Father’s Day in 2012.
We also released the “You Always Have A Place Victim Tribute Recipe Book” as another way to honor victims and survivors of drunk or drugged driving and underage drinking. We invited bereaved survivors to submit their loved one’s favorite recipe and injured survivors to submit their favorite recipe. You can download this free recipe book here.
MADD has always been and will always be a place for help. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to connect with a MADD Victim Advocate in your area.
Victims and survivors are not alone. They will always have a place at MADD.
To kick off MADD’s 35th Anniversary Conference in Washington, D.C., nearly 400 MADD volunteers and staff attended the global unveiling of the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) test vehicle on Thursday.
The Honorable Mark Rosekind, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, led the event and pledged support for development of in-car technology that will one day prevent a car from starting if the driver’s blood alcohol concentration is .08 or above. Senator Tom Udall and Representative Nita Lowey vowed to fight for continued funding of DADSS, a research partnership between NHTSA and an industry consortium to develop a touch-based and breath based technology that would one day be installed in new vehicles.
Victor Mendez, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation; Tom Udall, U.S Senator, New Mexico; Colleen Sheehey-Church, National President, Mothers Against Drunk Driving; Rob Strassburger, President & CEO, Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety; Mark Rosekind, Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
MADD attendees were able to view the test vehicle, which is equipped with mock-up DADDS technology that researchers will use to examine driver interactions with the system.
MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church reflected on the progress MADD and its 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.
“MADD is proud that 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. We will continue our efforts until DADSS is ready for the marketplace,” said MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church. “This is the future, when drunk drivers will be unable to drive their car. While we still have a lot of work to do, we are closer than ever to eliminating drunk driving and creating a future of No More Victims.”
While the first official day of summer isn’t until June 21st, with the weather getting warmer and the days getting longer many people are already making plans for family vacations and road trips. In fact, summer is one of the highest travel periods in the U.S., but it can also be one of the most dangerous times on our highways. So before you make any plans to head out on the road this summer, don’t forget to plan ahead for safety as well:
- Don't Drive After Drinking – Every 52 minutes, someone in the United States dies in a drunk driving crash. Always plan ahead with a non-drinking driver.
- Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. – Wearing a seatbelt is the best defense against any crash, including a drunk driving crash.
- Check your Tire’s Air Pressure, Tread Wear, and Spare – NHTSA’s TireWise campaign can provide essential information about choosing and caring for tires.
- Keep Children Safe In and Around Your Vehicle – Read NHTSA's child passenger safety recommendations to find out how to select and install the right car seat for your child.
These tips were provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Check out NHTSA’s interactive Summer Driving Tips page for more information about staying safe on the roads this summer.
On May 23, 2002, 20-year-old Ryan Smith was picking up his sister and two friends from a high school play. At 9:00 p.m., Ryan’s mother Lory Gleason heard the doorbell ring; it was her neighbor telling her that there had been a “serious accident,” and he recognized Ryan’s car.
“Ryan loved his car. He had it all fixed up,” Lory said. “He would work for hours on it in our garage. It was one of his hobbies.” But when Lory and her husband arrived at the scene, they found Ryan’s car mangled in the middle of the intersection.
As they watched rescue workers and paramedics try to get the kids out of the car, the police told Lory what happened. A drunk driver ran a red light and then tried to run from the scene. “This car accident now became a crash,” Lory says. “As there is nothing accidental about drunk driving.”
Lory’s daughter and two friends were seriously injured. Two hours later, Ryan passed away in the emergency room.
The driver who killed Ryan Smith was a four-time repeat offender with a suspended license. The night of the crash, his BAC was over three times the legal limit. He was convicted of 2nd degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter, DUI with great bodily injury to multiple victims, hit and run and driving on a suspended license. He is now serving 27 ½ years to life.
“I thought I was going to die of a broken heart,” she says. “I didn’t know if I could survive another day.” But Lory made a choice…to face her grief head on and to make a difference in memory of Ryan. So she became a MADD volunteer, and she now leads the MADD California – Riverside County Chapter.
Fact: wearing your seat belt is one of the best ways to protect yourself from a drunk driver on the road. And with this weekend being Memorial Day weekend, we know there is a good chance more drunk drivers will be on the road – in 2013, 146 people were killed in drunk driving crashes over Memorial Day weekend.
If every person was properly restrained on every trip, thousands of additional lives could be saved by seat belts each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly half of the 21,132 people killed in crashes on our nation’s roadways in 2013 were not wearing their seat belts.
And it’s just as important to buckle up in the back seat. Too many people wrongly believe they are safe in the back seat unrestrained. Half of all front-seat occupants killed in crashes in 2012 were unrestrained, but 61 percent of those killed in back seats were unrestrained.
Regardless of vehicle type, time of day, or seating position, wearing a seat belt is the single most effective way to protect yourself in a crash. That’s why through May 31st, law enforcement officers will be stepping up enforcement and cracking down for NHTSA’s 2015 Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign.
The national Click It or Ticket mobilization has increased seat belt use and saved many lives over the years, but there is still much more that can be done. High-visibility enforcement and encouraging loved ones to buckle up can turn lives lost into lives saved. Learn more about the Click It or Ticket mobilization at nhtsa.gov/ciot, and help spread the word!
So this Memorial Day weekend (and every day of the year), make sure to designated a non-drinking driver if your plans include alcohol, and always buckle up.