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.
The scariest part of Halloween isn’t the spooky costumes and haunted houses. It’s the fact that far too often people don’t plan ahead for a safe way home before drinking alcohol. Every year we hear the stories of Halloween celebrations turned tragic for innocent people, like Jean Dyess or Jessica Fraire, enjoying the holiday.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost half (48%) of all motor vehicle traffic fatalities on Halloween night in 2012 involved a drunk driver. These numbers usually are even higher when the holiday falls on a weekend like it does this year.
This Halloween, MADD urges both partygoers and trick-or-treaters to plan ahead to help keep everyone safe.
Be extra alert when crossing the street.
Wear bright, reflective clothing or add reflective tape to costumes and treat buckets.
Bring a flashlight (with extra batteries) so you can see and be seen at night.
Attending a party:
Designate a non-drinking driver before you head out to make sure you and your loved ones arrive home safely.
Save the number of a local cab service in your phone or download a ride-share app prior to heading out.
Consider hiring a shuttle or limousine service to transport you and your friends to and from your event.
Arrange a hotel stay for you and your friends on the evening of the event so no one drives home impaired.
Hosting a Halloween party:
Never serve alcohol to those under the age of 21.
Plan safe parties, including providing non-alcoholic drink options to guests.
Provide plenty of food to keep your guests from drinking on an empty stomach.
Be prepared to get everyone home safe by having the number of a taxi service on hand for those who need a ride.
Be ready with some clean linens so you can turn your sofa into a hotel for guests who need to stay the night.
Underage drinking is not only illegal, it’s dangerous. Which is why we’re asking teens to take a stand against underage drinking.
Teens: You have the power to influence your friends and make an impact in your school, home and community. The Power of You(th) is the power you hold to save some of the 4,700 lives that are lost each year because of underage drinking.
Take a selfie and use the hashtag #ProtectUrSelfie to pledge to be alcohol free until 21! Learn more here.
And check out some of the amazing teens who have already taken the #ProtectUrSelfie pledge on social media:
This weekend, MADD’s National Teen Influencer Group convened in Nashville, Tenn. to share ideas on how to stop underage drinking in their respective communities. The Group is part of MADD’s Power of You(th) program which works to empower teens to take a stand against drinking under 21 in their schools and communities. The teens were selected based on their commitment to be drug and alcohol-free and the desire to share MADD’s message to their peers.
They spent Friday receiving training on how to be a MADD ambassador in their community. On Saturday, the teens volunteered at the Nashville Walk Like MADD event, painting faces and hosting a #ProtectUrSelfie photo booth. At the end of the weekend, the teens each committed to an activity they can implement in their community to influence their peers to make the smart choice and avoid alcohol until 21.
Watching the group learn from MADD and each other was inspiring for all involved. Each teen left the summit excited to get back to their school and began working on their activities.
Teens give lots of reasons for trying alcohol – to celebrate a special occasion, for example, or out of curiosity. Some teens think alcohol will put them in a better mood or make them feel less awkward. Others drink to fit in. They figure, “How bad could it be if everyone is doing it?”
But the truth is, teen drinking can have tragic consequences. More than 4,700 people are killed each year because of underage drinking – and that is not just in car crashes. Those deaths include things like homicides, suicides, alcohol poisonings, falls, drownings, burns and other causes of deaths.
The lives of thousands of teens – like Taylor, Shelby, Lauren and Alexis – are tragically cut short every year because of teen drinking. It’s just not worth it.
That’s why we developed the Power of You(th) program. It gives teens the tools they need to take a stand and help their friends do the same.
This Red Ribbon Week, help us empower teens to take a stand against underage drinking by spreading the word on all of your social media channels and to all the teens you know about MADD’s tools and resources:
Parents often worry about their kids’ safety, and they have good reason to be concerned when their teen gets behind the wheel. Young, inexperienced drivers are the most crash-prone drivers on the road. In fact, traffic crashes are the number one cause of death for American teenagers.
Talking to your kids about the dangers of driving is one of the best things you can do to keep them safe on the road, but many parents just assume their teens get this information elsewhere, so they don’t have the conversation.
October 19-25 is Teen Driver Safety Week, and it’s a great time for parents to talk to their teen drivers about the risks they face.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “5 to Drive” campaign identifies the five most important rules all teen drivers need to follow:
No Alcohol. Even though the minimum legal drinking age in every state is 21, among 15- to 20-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2012, 28 percent of the drivers killed had been drinking. And we know that drunk driving crashes are not the only danger to teens when it comes to alcohol, so talk with your teen about the risks of underage drinking. Use our Power of Parents® handbook to help get the conversation started.
Put It Down. One Text or Call Could Wreck It All.In 2012, among drivers 15 to 19 years old who were distracted in fatal crashes, nearly 1 in 5 were distracted by their phones. This age group had the highest percentage of drivers distracted by phone use.
Stop Speeding Before It Stops You.In 2012, speeding was a factor in almost half (48%) of the crashes that killed 15- to 20-year-old drivers. By comparison, 30 percent of all fatal crashes that year involved speeding.
No More Than One Passenger at a Time.Extra passengers for a teen driver can lead to disastrous results. Research shows that the risk of a fatal crash goes up in direct relation to the number of teens in a car. The likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behavior triples when traveling with multiple passengers.
Talk to your kids—this week and every week—about how to be smart and safe behind the wheel.
We are excited to hear this trend is continuing, especially with Red Ribbon Week just around the corner Find out how you can help reduce the deaths and injuries that come from underage drinking by visiting www.madd.org/redribbonweek to download all of our free Red Ribbon Week resources and learn how you can get involved in your community.
As part of MADD's on-going efforts to encourage adults to plan ahead and always have a designated non-drinking driver, we are excited to announce that Uber and MADD Wisconsin have teamed up to save lives.
For every person that signs up in Madison from October 16th through October 23rd, Uber will donate $1 to MADD!
How can you save lives with an unwanted car? By donating it to MADD! Better yet, you can get a tax deduction at the same time. It’s a win-win!
Donating is easy. We accept all types of vehicles in any condition — from cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, ATVs, as well as boats. Even a vehicle that isn’t running can be sold for parts and contribute hundreds of dollars to support MADD’s mission.
Step 1: You fill out our online form at www.carsformadd.org, or call 877-623-3288. Step 2: We tow the vehicle at no cost to you. Step 3: We send you a donation receipt.
Your donation helps fund vital programs not just to help end drunk driving but also to support its victims. Every year MADD provides victim services to tens of thousands of victims and survivors nationwide. MADD has helped save 300,000 lives and counting, help add to that number with your car donation.
Please consider donating your vehicle – or helping us spread the word that MADD accepts vehicle donations – and help save lives.
Every October during Red Ribbon Week – just in time for homecoming and the holidays – schools and communities across the country encourage young people to live a drug-free life. This year for Red Ribbon Week, MADD is launching new resources to help teens, educators and community members empower teens to take a stand against underage drinking.
One important resource for teens is The 411 on Teen Drinking. This booklet, sponsored by State Farm®, 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.
Help us reduce the deaths and injuries that come from underage drinking by visiting www.madd.org/redribbonweek to download all of our free Red Ribbon Week resources and learn how you can get involved in your community.
On October 10, 2013, 23-year-old Eric Fischer and his girlfriend, 20-year-old Andrea Herrera, left the restaurant where they were watching a Tigers game to take care of their newly adopted puppy, Otis. On their way to Eric’s house, a drunk and drugged driver ran a red light and hit the car Eric and Andrea were driving in, pushing them into the path of a semi-truck. Both Eric and Andrea were killed.
Eric and Andrea met earlier that year at a local steakhouse where they were both working, and were inseparable. Eric was known as an easy going guy with a big heart and an even bigger smile. He got along with everyone. Andrea was funny and very creative, with an eye and a talent for turning simple things into something beautiful through a photo or painting.
Both Andrea and Eric were going to school, Eric for marketing, and Andrea for graphic design before their lives were tragically cut short by someone’s choice to drink and drive.
After the crash, the Prosecutor connected Eric and Andrea’s families with MADD Michigan. MADD Victim Advocate, Stephanie Hurst, helped prepare the families for the court process, accompanied them to the trial and offered a shoulder to lean on during the incredibly difficult time.
The drunk driver, who had a history of alcohol-related offenses, was sentenced to between 12-and-a-half and 30 years in prison.
With the trial behind them, Eric and Andrea’s families remain dedicated to making sure that this doesn’t happen to another family. They participated in this year’s Walk Like MADD event in Grand Rapids, Michigan on September 13th, raising $5,315 to put an end to this 100 percent preventable crime once and for all.
Read more about Andrea and Eric on their tribute pages, or make a donation in their honor.
This isn’t the first time for Phelps. He was charged and pleaded guilty to a DUI in 2004 at the age of 19, when he shouldn’t have been drinking in the first place. If the newest charges prove to be true, he clearly didn’t learn his lesson. However, it proves what we already know. Far too often first-time offenders repeat their action unless something is done to disrupt the pattern.
That is why MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving calls for all drivers convicted of drunk driving to get an alcohol ignition interlock, even first time offenders. Interlocks reduce repeat offenses by 67 percent according to research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Fortunately, no one was injured in any of these three instances, but too many times innocent people are killed or injured because of someone’s choice to drink and drive. It takes the lives of 28 people a day in stories that may not make the evening news or social media.
A new study published in the September issue of Accident Analysis & Prevention, surveyed adults nationwide about their attitudes toward road-safety laws, including ignition interlock devices. The results show that 74% of adults support interlocks for all DUI offenders.
Requiring all convicted drunk drivers to use ignition interlocks to prove they are sober before they drive is a no-brainer. Since New Mexico's interlock law was implemented in 2005, drunk driving fatalities are down by 38 percent. Since Arizona and Louisiana implemented their interlock law in 2007, drunk driving deaths have decreased by 43 and 35 percent, respectively. In Oregon, as a result of 2008 interlock law, DUI deaths are down 42 percent. Simply put, these laws work.
That’s why MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® calls for the passage of laws requiring the use of lifesaving ignition interlocks by all convicted drunk drivers in all 50 states, and we are glad to know that the public agrees.
We are excited to announce the 10 teens chosen to be a part of the 2014-2015 National Teen Influencer Group:
Dakota Baker 10th grade C.A. Gray Junior High School Norman Park, GA
Stormey Barton 11th grade Hyde Park High School Austin, TX
Kassidy Brown 12th grade Lufkin High School Lufkin, TX
Sarah Haiken 11th grade Half Hollow Hills High School East Melville, NY
Kenya James 12th grade Denham Springs High School Denham Springs, LA
Lauren “Alex” Otte 12th grade Trinity Christian Academy Lexington, KY
Ashley Persson 12th grade Temecula High School Winchester, CA
Madison Romeo 11th grade Lambert High School Suwanee, GA
Hollywood Ruch 12th grade Mechanicsburg High School New Cumberland, PA
Cady Snell 12th grade Rocky Mountain High School Meridian, ID
We’ve got some amazing teens involved this year, including one who founded a student organization to fight peer pressure related to drugs and alcohol and another who competes in the Ms. America pageants with a platform of underage drinking prevention. One of the teens is an active member of her town’s Mayoral Youth Advisory Board where she chairs the Anti-Drug Coalition and works to create a community where underage drinking is not supported. And that’s just a few examples! All 10 teens were selected based on their commitment to be drug and alcohol-free and the desire to share MADD’s message to their peers.
Several of the teens have also been personally impacted by drunk driving and have volunteered with their local MADD office, sharing their story at Victim Impact Panels and other MADD events to help prevent others from experiencing the tragedy they’ve had to endure.
Congratulations to our 10 new Teen Influencers! We look forward to working with these outstanding youth to empower other teens to avoid alcohol before 21 and never get in the car with someone who has been drinking.
MADD’s National Teen Influencer Group is part of the Power of You(th) program, sponsored by State Farm®, designed to equip teens with the information and resources to help them avoid drinking alcohol before 21.
For more information about the Power of You(th) program, or to download the teen booklet called The 411 on Teen Drinking, visit www.madd.org/powerofyouth.
Alarmingly, MADD is receiving an increase in calls about children riding with substance-impaired drivers. When a minor is placed in jeopardy of physical, moral or mental well-being, that’s child endangerment, and it’s a very serious problem.
Many of the callers are grandparents who play an important part in the lives of their grandchildren. They want to do everything possible to protect them. But grandparents sometimes feel helpless when their grandchildren are in danger.
A Family in Crisis
Ellen Pitt from western North Carolina became an advocate for children in these situations while fighting to protect her own granddaughter.
At age 7, Ellen’s granddaughter began to tell her that she was afraid to ride with her mother and her mother’s boyfriend because he was usually drunk and sometimes, so was her mother. She would talk about being on the interstate late at night and seeing the “speed thing saying 90.”
Ellen’s son and daughter-in-law, both of whom were partygoers, had separated when the child was 3 years old. The daughter-in-law frequently had people in her home drinking and using drugs.
Ellen knew she had to do something to protect her granddaughter. So she called child protective services (CPS) but was passed from one person to another. She talked to the district attorney’s office and was referred back to CPS. The situation seemed hopeless.
“I was staying awake every night, even though I worked full time, driving through bar parking lots, calling everywhere, and crying myself to sleep,” Ellen says. “When [my granddaughter] wasn’t with me, I became more and more terrified. My son was drinking too, and I felt I had nowhere to turn.”
Children are our greatest resource and our future. That’s why MADD is taking action to help protect the children who are needlessly put in danger every day in this country.
While drunk driving is recognized as a violent crime, driving impaired with child passengers is not commonly acknowledged as a form of child endangerment or child abuse. No one should have to ride with an impaired driver. However, children have little choice when the driver is a parent or an adult caregiver.
If you see an adult who is visibly impaired attempting to drive with a child in the car:
Calmly suggest alternative transportation, recommend the driver postpone travel or offer to drive the child, if appropriate. Avoid a heated altercation that can put the child in further danger.
Call 911 at the time of the incident with as much information as possible (such as name of the driver, vehicle description and/or license plate, and destination). Also be sure to give them your name and contact information for responding officers.
Document the situation so that your notes can be used later.
Notify another parent or caregiver of the situation.
Teach children techniques for keeping themselves safe if they are ever forced to ride with an impaired driver (see below).
Report your concerns to state or local child protective agencies.
Here are some tips you can teach your kids or a child you know who might find themselves in a situation where they are riding with a drinking driver:
Sit in the back seat.
Buckle-up tight and use your booster seat, if needed.
Put all of your belongings on the floor.
Do not bother the driver and stay quiet.
Tell a trusted grown-up immediately about any unsafe ride.
This week is Child Passenger Safety Week, a time to evaluate how to keep our kids safe on the roads.
Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children, and too many of those are caused by drunk driving. In 2012, 239 child passengers (under age 15) were killed in drunk driving crashes—representing 20 percent of all child traffic fatalities. And of those, more than half (52 percent) were passengers in a vehicle with the drunk driver.
MADD receives more than 17,000 phone calls every year related to child endangerment. No child should be in danger from drunk driving, especially by those entrusted to keep them safe. Drunk driving is criminal and irresponsible, and driving drunk with a child in the vehicle is a form of child abuse.
While 46 states and the District of Columbia have laws enhancing penalties for those who drive drunk with a child passenger in a vehicle, the laws vary widely in severity and definition of a child passenger. For example, in New York it is a felony to drive drunk with a child passenger under the age of 16, while in Wisconsin, the same offense is a misdemeanor. Click here to see if your state has DUI Child Endangerment Laws.
As with any tragedy, there comes a time to observe the traumatic event’s anniversary. Many people believe that grief will wane with time. However, feelings of anger, guilt, isolation, loneliness, sadness and despair often occur long after the disaster.
On the anniversary of the September 11th disaster, many people find themselves once again contemplating the event and its tragic consequences.
Life threatening trauma, including learning that a loved one has been seriously injured or killed, can provoke unsettling emotional or behavioral reactions over a long period of time.
We always say: First there’s the crash, then the lifelong impact.
For many victims the anniversary of a tragic event, no matter how many years have gone by, may make the loss more real and bring out a rush of emotions. Often the pain increases and becomes more intense following the first anniversary. This is a normal reaction. Grief is a journey and everyone grieves in their own way.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind for an anniversary of a tragic event:
Talk. Unspeakable trauma becomes more manageable when it’s verbalized. Individuals who were personally affected by a tragedy, but have not talked to anyone should seek support. Those who were not personally affected but are experiencing some hypersensitivity, should also talk to someone who understands trauma.
Honor individual differences in trauma reaction. Your way is not the only way. Respect the different ways in which people continue to cope. People cope the best way they can.
Reach out and remember those more directly affected. Many people who are grieving feel that friends, family, and their community have “forgotten” about them. This can lead to increased feelings of isolation and loneliness. Reach out and listen to their stories. Although they may say the same things over and over, honor these experiences by listening rather than giving advice or telling them that “time heals all wounds.”
Do something to help. Recognize the possible reactions to the anniversary. Remember that those directly affected may not be the only ones to experience anniversary reactions. Emphasize that people can be helped by small deeds. Plant a tree or perennial plant in memory of a loved one who died or in honor of someone who was injured.
Seek professional support. Recognize that grieving is normal, but encourage people to seek professional support when they need it.
If you are struggling with grief, call 877.MADD.HELP to speak with a victim advocate, day or night.
Football season is upon us! Are your ready to cheer on your favorite team?
Tailgating is a great way to get together with friends and fellow fans before a game to show your team spirit. However, it can also be a challenging environment to monitor alcohol use.
If you are planning on hosting or participating in a tailgating party, make sure to check out our tailgating gameplan, and read our safe tailgating tips to make sure everyone stays safe, healthy and happy this football season.
No matter how you celebrate or who you cheer for, don’t ruin game day by getting a DUI, or much worse. Always put safety before the party this football season by designating a non-drinking driver before you leave the house.
The Josh Brent situation is a painful reminder of how drunk driving can tear people’s lives apart. We wish so many things could have been different. We wish that Josh Brent would have made a different choice that night and never got behind the wheel of a car after drinking. We wish the criminal justice system in Texas would have sent a stronger message that drunk driving is unacceptable.
Above all, we wish Jerry Brown was alive today, playing football and being a dad. Sadly, victims and survivors pay the ultimate price and are given a lifetime sentence, despite the fact that drunk driving crashes are 100% preventable every time.
We acknowledge the NFL’s conditional reinstatement, but the focus needs to be on what does Josh Brent do with his second chance?
We advocate for immediate suspension and potential banishment from the NFL if Josh Brent violates the NFL’s conditions, especially any adverse involvement with law enforcement and/or prohibited alcohol-related conduct, and all sentencing mandates handed down by the criminal court.
Instead of looking back MADD wants to look toward the future and how these tragedies can be prevented. That’s why we are more resolved than ever to work with the NFL to educate players, fans and entire communities that behind the statistics real people are needlessly killed and injured every day.
On behalf of the tens of thousands of victims and survivors we serve freely each year, MADD urges everyone to plan ahead if your plans include alcohol. Make the only choice to designate a non-drinking driver to keep the roadways and your loved ones safe.