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.
Last week, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed into law a bill that requires all convicted drunk drivers use ignition interlocks on their vehicles to prevent future offenses.
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. Arizona, Oregon, New Mexico and Louisiana, have seen a reduction in DUI deaths by 33 to 46 percent, largely due to these comprehensive laws requiring all drunk drivers to receive an interlock.
The bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Tony Shipley of Kingsport and Republican Sen. Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet, was unanimously approved 95-0 in the House and 31-0 in the Senate. MADD applauds Tennessee legislators for passing this lifesaving legislation.
This week the National Transportation Safety Board recommended lowering the blood alcohol limit from 0.08 percent — the measurement now for 13 years — to 0.05 percent. In their Room for Debate section, The New York Times invited knowledgeable outside contributors to answer the question: “Is lowering the blood alcohol limit the best way to minimize traffic fatalities?”
Jan Withers, MADD National President, shared her opinion in her article, “Other Measures Are Just as Important.” She states that “MADD’s priorities are to focus on all of the initiatives that are currently in the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®, and not just single out the lowering of the current blood alcohol concentration level. The campaign acknowledges countermeasures in use today, sets legislative goals for tomorrow and supports future technology to eliminate drunken driving. When fully implemented, MADD’s campaign is expected to save 8,000 lives per year.”
Other debaters include:
Deborah A. P. Hersman, National Transportation Safety Board
Barron H. Lerner, author, “One for the Road"
Gary Biller, National Motorists Association
Kathryn Stewart, Safety and Policy Analysis International
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently launched a new national campaign called “Talk. They Hear You.” that empowers parents to talk to children as young as nine years old about the dangers of underage drinking. The kickoff occurred in conjunction with SAMHSA’s 2013 National Prevention Week—an annual health observance dedicated to increasing awareness of, and action around, substance abuse and mental health issues.
SAMHSA’s latest report on underage drinking shows that more than a quarter of American youth engage in underage drinking. Although there has been progress in reducing the extent of underage drinking in recent years, particularly among those aged 17 and younger, the rates of underage drinking are still unacceptably high.
“Talk. They Hear You.” raises parents’ awareness about these issues and arms them with information they need to help them start a conversation about alcohol with their children before their children become teenagers.
Parental influence is the most important factor in helping keep teens 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. (Download the parent handbook for tips and tools to help you start this lifesaving conversation.)
On May 14, 1988—25 years ago today, a school bus carrying 67 people, nearly all of them children, was returning from a church youth group field trip to an amusement park. While they were driving through Carroll County, KY, a drunk driver driving on the wrong side of the road crashed into the bus head-on. The fiery crash killed 27 people – 24 children, the bus driver and two adult chaperones – and injured 34 others.
With your support, we’ve come a long way in drunk driving awareness, education and prevention in the past 25 years. But we have so much left to do. Still today, 27 people die each day as a result of drunk driving — the equivalent of one Kentucky bus crash every day.
As a part of the crash anniversary, MADD is partnering with the filmmakers behind a new feature documentary film, IMPACT: AFTER THE CRASH, which tells some of the powerful stories of loss and healing through interviews with many of the crash survivors and victims’ family members. MADD, the filmmakers, crash survivors, victims’ families and local residents will hold a public memorial honoring the victims and survivors of the crash. There will also be a private screening of IMPACT, as well as the first public screening of the film.
This week, we honor and remember those impacted by the tragic Kentucky bus crash, and hope that their stories of survivorship will inspire others in their healing journey.
Tragedy is like wind. You can’t see it, but it is there, pushing us forward and holding us back. When the wind gusts; how strong it blows; the direction from which it comes – are all aspects of wind that we cannot predict or prevent, representing the uncontrollable nature of tragedy. And, as the direction of the wind changes, life can spin out of control.
Pinwheels represent our opportunity to harness the wind – to control the seemingly uncontrollable. In Chinese culture, the pinwheel is considered an instrument to turn obstacles into opportunities. So we blow our pinwheels to symbolize us taking control of the healing journey in our lives.
Much like the uniqueness of a pinwheel, the healing journey of each and every person is different. There simply is no right or wrong way to feel. For some remembering brings more pain than solace, and for others, talking about the tragedy is helpful.
This week in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Kentucky Bus crash, we come together to take control of the wind and turn our pain into strength. Participate in our virtual pinwheel display and share a message about your personal healing journey or a message for the 27 killed and 34 injured in the Kentucky bus crash on May 14, 1988—the most deadly alcohol-related crash in U.S. history.
On May 14, 1988, a repeat DUI offender with a .24 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC), heading the wrong way down the highway in a pickup truck, slammed into a bus that was returning from a church trip to Kings Island Amusement Park. The fiery crash killed 27 people.
These are the 27 lives that were tragically cut short:
An anniversary recognizes how far one has come—some call for celebration while others serve as a line drawn in the sand. This month, our nation recognizes the 25th anniversary of the Carrollton, Kentucky, bus crash, the most deadly alcohol-related crash in U.S. history. The tragedy remains a heartbreaking reminder of a senseless crime but also serves as a symbol of the shift in our understanding of victim advocacy and marks the beginning of the concept of “crisis response.”
On May 14, 1988, a repeat DUI offender with a .24 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC), heading the wrong way down the highway in a pickup truck, slammed into a bus that was returning from a church trip to Kings Island Amusement Park. The fiery crash killed 24 children, the bus driver and two adult chaperones, and injured 34 others.
The majority of American communities are not prepared for a crisis nor are they aware of the resources available to them. That is why MADD is hopeful that the upcoming release of a new feature documentary outlining the horrific Carrollton bus crash will renew attention to the need for a crisis response plan in all communities. IMPACT: After the Crashtells the story of the lives lost on that fateful day as well as the impact on our nation’s understanding of mass casualty and crisis response. Despite all the progress, there is still much work to be done.
Mother’s Day is a special holiday at MADD, since we were founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver. But as we all know, it’s not just mothers who are impacted by drunk driving; fathers, children, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends can all be victimized by the traumatic death or injury of a loved one.
MADD Victim Services offers a wide selection of brochures for crash victims, available in English and Spanish, covering grief and healing, talking to children and teens about death, coping with serious injury, the criminal and civil court system, and other topics of interest. You can find that information here.
If you are struggling with grief this Mother's Day, please know MADD is here for you. Our 24/7 Help Line is available at no charge at 877.MADD.HELP (632.3435). You can also read our Holiday Grief Tips to find suggestions for people experiencing bereavement and/or injury for coping during a holiday.
MADD wishes everyone a safe and happy Mother’s Day.
MADD is looking for outstanding teens who want to use their power to take a stand against underage drinking and be a part of MADD’s National Teen Influencer Group. Teens selected to be a part of the National Teen Influencer Group will be an important part of the Power or You(th) program. As a member of the Teen Influencer Group, teens will:
Participate in conference calls with other teens and MADD leadership throughout the year to provide valuable input on teen programs
Participate, as needed, in projects to empower teens across America to take a stand against underage drinking, i.e. working groups, events, media interviews
We are accepting applications online now, through June 30th for the 2013-2014 National Teen Influencer Group. Help us spread the word to teens that are involved in significant underage drinking prevention work in your community.
Underage alcohol use and mental health issues often go hand in hand. We know that teens with certain mental health issues, like antisocial personality disorder or weak belief in their own ability to resist social pressure, are significantly more likely to drink. Likewise, there are very few mental health problems that underage drinking can’t make worse, like low self-esteem, depression, deviant behaviors, and even thoughts of suicide.
You could look at this as a negative spiral, but the good news is that it’s also a positive one – if you can prevent underage drinking, you can help teen mental health, and vice versa. That’s why MADD is proud to support National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day on May 9th.
On Awareness Day, SAMHSA (the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) works to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health. MADD is working through our Power of Parents program to provide parents and guardians tools and resources to help them build a better relationship with their teens on the firm grounds of mutual respect, open communication and shared expectations.
We are also working with teens through the Power of You(th) program, giving them the tools to help their friends stay happy, healthy and alcohol-free. This fits right into Awareness Day, where SAMHSA focuses on how social connections help young people thrive in later life.
If you want more information about Children's Mental Health, including materials and resources and getting involved in Awareness Day, visit www.samhsa.gov/children.
With warmer weather right around the corner, motorcyclists will soon be out in force. That’s why May is designated Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month—a national initiative designed to encourage drivers of all other kinds of vehicles to “share the road” with each other.
Motorcycles are among the smallest and most vulnerable vehicles on the road and riders are at greater risk of death and serious injury if they are involved in a crash. In fact, according to the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to die in a crash than occupants of cars, and 5 times more likely to be injured.
Alcohol plays a particularly big role in motorcycle fatalities as it affects those skills essential to riding a motorcycle—balance and coordination. In 2011, 1,390 drunk motorcyclists were involved in fatal crashes. That's a 34% increase from 2002, at the same time as all other drunk driving fatalities decreased significantly. Motorcyclists are the drivers most likely to be driving drunk in fatal crashes—29% of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes were above a .08, compared with 24% for cars and 21% for light trucks.
Safety is a mutual responsibility for motorists and motorcyclists alike. Drivers must be aware that a motorcycle, as one of the smallest of vehicles on the road, can be ‘hiding’ in your vehicle’s blind spots. Always check blind spots, use mirrors and signal before changing lanes or making turns.
And as always, no matter what vehicle you are driving, never drive after drinking.
This year marks the seventh anniversary of MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. Thank you to all of MADD’s volunteers, victim/survivors and supporters for helping to make it the premier grassroots campaign in the nation.
The Campaign was built on MADD’s prior research-based successes, including advocating for a national .08 BAC standard. It supports high visibility law enforcement efforts to deter drunk driving, seeks to ensure all convicted drunk drivers receive an ignition interlock device, and supports the development of new technologies like DADSS (Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety) that will one day stop drunk drivers from starting vehicles.
Thanks to your support, we’ve made tremendous progress in the fight against drunk driving.Today we can celebrate that:
Seventeen states now require interlocks for all DUI offenders, up from only one state in 2006.
Over 100 million people are now protected by these lifesaving interlock laws.
Research and development funding for the DADSS project has been doubled from $10 million to just over $20 million.
The U.S. Congress has passed legislation authorizing and funding all components of the Campaign. Learn more here.
NHTSA, the NFL, the NTSB, AAA, and every other major safety group have now endorsed the components of the campaign, including interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers (.08 and above) and funding for the technologies that will eliminate drunk driving.
3,600 fewer people were killed in 2011 than when we startedthe Campaign in 2006.
The Campaign was created to eliminate drunk driving in America, and as you can see it’s working. We are keeping our eye on the prize: a nation where drunk driving exists only in the history books.
Your support has made this possible. You and others in the MADD family have sent tens of thousands of emails to federal and state legislators that have helped sway opinions and save lives. Your unwavering support of MADD keeps us going every day. But our work is not done yet, and we plan to stay focused and reach our goal to rid our nation of this violent crime, until there are no more future victims.
May 1st begins Global Youth Traffic Safety Month, an annual campaign held each May to bring awareness of the fact that summer is the deadliest time on the roads for youth in the U.S. This campaign is hosted by our friends at the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) Coalition.
Help youth make this summer safe on the roads by reminding them of these key tips from NOYS:
JST DRV – avoid all distractions – they can wait!
ALWAYS buckle up!
PLAN your route and your ride – take the safest way and ride with safe drivers!
STAND up for your own safety – Speak up and get out if you need to!
We’d also like to add: Don’t drink until age 21 and never get in the car with someone who has been drinking.
You can find additional tips from MADD’s Power of Parents program about teen driving safety and the Graduated Driver’s License Law to help your teen beat the odds here.
At age 20, Tiana Tozer’s life took a dramatic turn when an intoxicated driver ran a stop sign and crashed into the car she was riding in. She stayed in intensive care for more than a month, endured 34 surgeries, and spent four years learning to walk again.
After finding out the driver who caused the crash had been drinking and had a .09 blood alcohol concentration at the time of the crash, Tiana called MADD and spoke with Barb Stoeffler of MADD Oregon. Seven months later, Tiana shared her story for the first time as a speaker at a MADD candlelight vigil. She began sharing her story with schools across Oregon, and worked with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oregon on a public service campaign.
She also began getting involved in public policy. Tiana helped pass laws establishing .08 as the per se blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in Idaho, Nevada and Illinois. She worked with the Portland Police and DA's office on forfeiture laws. And, she advocated for stronger victim's rights laws in Oregon.
Tiana went on to play wheelchair basketball at the University of Illinois, while she worked on her master's degree. She competed in the Paralympics in 1992 and 1996 and helped Team USA bring home the silver and bronze medals. While living in Illinois she also continued to speak for MADD at Victim Impact Panels and schools.
More recently, Tiana served as a humanitarian aid worker in Iraq and Sudan working with people with disabilities. You can watch an interview about her work in Iraq here. Tiana was honored in 2010 as University of Oregon's Outstanding Young Alumna, and in 2012 the University of Illinois awarded her the Harold Sharper Humanitarian Award for work on behalf of people with disabilities.
Currently, Tiana lives in Portland, Oregon and works part-time for a non-profit that helps with employment and education for people with disabilities. She is also working on her memoir about the crash. She continues to share her story nationwide.
“It was through speaking with MADD and becoming part of the solution that I was really able to heal emotionally, ” Tiana said. “Until DUI is eradicated I will not stop fighting.”
This year, April 21st-27th is an important week at MADD! It started off with PowerTalk 21 day, the national day for parents to talk with their teens about alcohol, its National Crime Victims’ Rights week, and it’s also National Volunteer Week, a time to renew the idea of service and responsibility. All three of these things are incredibly important to MADD’s mission.
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."
— Dr. Seuss
As we so often say, our volunteers are the heart and soul of MADD. Many of those who work so hard for MADD each and every day are volunteering their time and their heart for the cause. We would never have accomplished so much without these dedicated volunteers.
Become a trained victim advocate and provide emotional support to drunk driving victims/survivors as well as guide them through the criminal justice system.
Work with MADD’s public policy department to strengthen existing laws and enact new ones.
Share your story at schools, civic groups, clubs and other organizations.
Ensure that drunk driving offenders are punished to the fullest extent of the law by monitoring court cases and reporting outcomes to the community and media.
Organize a Walk Like MADD event in your community to help raise awareness and funds.
If you are not already one of our wonderful volunteers, we hope you will take this opportunity to contact your local office to find out more. (And if you are, thank you, from the bottom of our hearts!)
There is a story among the Tohono O’odham Nation about the creation of the butterfly: that the creator of the world made the butterfly with so many colors that the songbirds became jealous. They asked that butterflies be silent so birds could have song and butterflies the colors of the rainbow.
Because of this silence, if you want a wish to come true, you must catch a butterfly and whisper your wish to it. In gratitude for giving the beautiful butterfly its freedom, the wish is granted.
At MADD’s 2010 National Conference, at our victim/survivor tribute, we recognized those who had been impacted by drunk driving through the Hope Soars art project and gave out origami butterflies to all attendees to write their wish on and release it.
This week is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, a time to recognize those who have been impacted by crime and renew our efforts to make sure these victims receive justice.
We hope that this week, you’ll share your wishes with us through our virtual butterfly release – your personal wishes or your wishes for a safer or more just nation. Hopefully, through our work together, we can make them come true.
You can also create your own origami butterfly to write your wish on, using these instructions. If you do, please share a picture of your butterfly with us either on Facebook (facebook.com/MADD.Official), Twitter (@MADDonline)or Pinterest (tag @MADDonline).
I am honored and motivated to work on achieving MADD’s mission every day. I am inspired by the victims we serve. Their stories put a voice and face on stark statistics. At least once a week, I volunteer as a victim advocate for MADD’s 24-hour 1-877-MADD-HELP line.
On a recent Sunday morning, I took a call from a bereaved mom. In tears, she told me her story. Her 19-year-old son died of alcohol poisoning while at college. She told me that on several occasions she told him to never drink and drive. “I thought I covered all the important topics with him,” she said. “I will forever regret that I didn’t tell him to not drink alcohol until he was at least 21 years old. Perhaps that advice would have saved his life.”
My heart aches for this mom and all other loved ones who have to live without their children due to alcohol related deaths. I am a mom, my most important role. I have two boys – a senior in college and a senior in high school. They are at critical stages in their life. As a parent, you want to protect them and give them guidance that helps them build healthy, happy lives.
I’ve utilized the Power of Parents handbook for the helpful tips to have the conversation with them about the dangers of underage drinking. I’ve had the conversation with them many times. Sometimes, I get the response, “we know mom!”
Today, April 21st, is PowerTalk 21 Day—the day set aside for us to talk with our children about the dangers of drinking before the age of 21. I hope you will be inspired by this one bereaved mom’s story and have this important conversation with your kids. Take hold of the influence parents have, and download the Power of Parents handbook.
As one very proud parent and MADD advocate, I wish you and your children good health, safety and happiness.
Most people know about the dangers of underage drinking and driving, but what you may not know is that the dangers of underage drinking are even greater off the roadways. This means that parents, who talk with their kids about drunk driving, but not about waiting until 21 to drink at all, are missing an important step in keeping their kids safe.
We just released a new analysis of data that estimates over two-thirds of all deaths associated with underage drinking are not on the roadways—they're things like homicides, suicides, alcohol poisonings, falls, drownings, burns and other causes of deaths.
That doesn’t include other impacts of underage drinking, like unplanned or unsafe sex, injuries, declining school performance, and greater chances of having problems with alcohol later in life. We need to understand the full scope of the impact underage drinking can have and why it’s so important that parents have the ongoing discussion with their kids about underage drinking.
Parental influence is the most important factor in helping keep teens safe—that’s why MADD launched the Power of Parents program, sponsored by Nationwide Insurance. The goal of Power of Parents is to educate parents and caregivers about the dangers of underage drinking, and give them the tools they need to talk with their kids about alcohol. In addition, we’ve designated April 21st as PowerTalk 21 day—the national day for parents to talk with their kids about alcohol. In preparation for PowerTalk21, download the parent handbook for tips and tools to help you start this lifesaving conversation. You can find additional resources at madd.org/powertalk21.
Start talking on April 21st, and together, we can help prevent underage drinking and save lives!
It’s the time of year for rented tuxes, flowers, after-parties, and making memories—typically known as prom. MADD wants all teens to know that adding alcohol to prom doesn’t help make good memories.
One of the first things to go when you drink is good judgment. If you’ve seen someone who’s been drinking, you’ve probably seen this firsthand. Teens who drink are far more likely to get in fights, have unplanned or unprotected sex, and drive drunk or ride with a drinking driver. In fact, there’s a USA Today story today that talks about drinking before prom and the potentially tragic consequences. Read it here.
If the plan is to make lasting memories at prom, you want to make sure you can remember the night. At higher levels of drinking, you can have blackouts or brownouts. A blackout is when your brain stops recording new memories entirely; a brownout is when your brain has gaps in your memory. Paired with bad decision making, this is especially dangerous—you definitely don’t want to learn what you did after prom from Facebook (or worse).
But there are things you can do to make your prom safe, fun and alcohol free. Download our teen booklet for more information on the impacts of drinking as well as tools to help you make good choices and resisting peer pressure.
For prom, make sure you know where you are going to go and what you are going to do before and after. That way, you know you won’t need to ride with a drinking driver and won’t be in a situation where you aren’t comfortable.
So, this prom season, make good memories and keep yourself and your friends safe by having fun on your terms—alcohol free.