Twenty Percent of Child Passenger Deaths Due to Drunk Driving Crashes
MADD Reminds Parents that Drunk Driving is a Crime
Washington, D.C. – In recognition of Child Passenger Safety Week (September 15 – 21, 2013), Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is urging lawmakers to enact legislation to protect our most vulnerable population, children. In 2011, 226 child (under age 15) passengers were killed in drunk driving crashes, representing 20 percent of all child traffic fatalities, of which more than half (54 percent) were passengers in a vehicle with the drunk driver.
“Child endangerment has reached a crisis level in our nation,” said Jan Withers, MADD National President. “Annually, MADD receives more than 17,000 phone calls related to child endangerment. Drunk driving with a child passenger is a form of child abuse and no child should ever be put in that kind of danger, especially by those entrusted to keep them safe,” Withers continued.
“Drinking and driving never mix, and it can be especially tragic when there is a child in the car. Children deserve a safe ride, in a safe seat, with a safe – and sober– driver. We appreciate the work of MADD in its effort to keep all of us safe, especially kids,” said Kate Carr, Safe Kids Worldwide President and CEO.
Today, 44 states and the District of Columbia have enacted child endangerment laws or statutes that allow for additional penalties for a drunk driving conviction with a child passenger in the vehicle. These laws vary widely in severity and definition of a child passenger. Among state laws, MADD recognizes New York’s child endangerment law – Leandra’s Law – as the most comprehensive legislation in the nation to protect our children. The law makes driving drunk with a child passenger under the age of 16 a felony. Leandra's Law is named after 11-year-old Leandra Rosado, who was tragically killed when an SUV she was traveling in with seven other children crashed in New York City. The adult driver, who had a BAC of .132, was the mother of one of the other passengers.
“Exposing a child to unreasonable risk or placing a child in imminent risk of death or serious injury is a punishable offense. These statistics are alarming and represent the need for legislation to protect our children,” said Withers.
MADD has prepared resources regarding state drunk driving and child endangerment laws that can be found on the MADD website at www.madd.org/drunk-driving/state-stats. Additionally, there are tools and information on madd.org for individuals who know of someone who may be driving drunk with a child in the car. MADD also has a 24-hour Help Line at 877-MADD-HELP to provide callers with information and support at no charge.
About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
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® to reduce the risk of underage drinking. And as one of the largest victim services organizations in the U.S., MADD also supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every eight minutes through local MADD victim advocates and at 1-877-MADD-HELP. Learn more at www.madd.org or by calling 1-877-ASK-MADD.