POSITIONS & POLICIES

These are MADD’s position statements and policies approved by our National Board of Directors

Positions on Youth

Enforcement of The Minimum Drinking Age Law

MADD believes there should be effective and stringent enforcement of the 21 minimum drinking age law, including administrative, civil, and criminal measures, to further limit illegal underage access to alcohol and thus reduce youthful involvement in alcohol and other drug-related traffic crashes. This enforcement should include regular monitoring of retail establishments, home delivery services, and internet sites selling alcohol. (Updated November 2014)

Zero Tolerance

MADD advocates zero tolerance for anyone under the age of 21 with the respect to alcohol consumption. Zero tolerance as defined by the majority of states shall establish a blood alcohol level of .02 BAC as a maximum legal limit. (Updated November 2014)

Fake ID/Fraudulent Licenses

MADD advocates requiring that driver’s licenses and other documents used as primary sources of identification for the purchase of alcohol be standardized by utilizing the latest technology to facilitate age and document verification.  MADD further encourages ensuring measures be taken to discourage document alteration or the production or use of counterfeits while improving methods to detect altered and counterfeit documents.  MADD also supports appropriate sanctions for those who produce, alter or accept “fake IDs” for illegal purchase of alcohol. (Updated November 2014)

Driver License Sanctions for Underage Purchase and/or Possession of Alcoholic Beverages – Use and Lose

MADD advocates that each state adopt and implement laws which provide driver’s license sanctions for underage persons convicted of purchase or possession of alcoholic beverages.

Graduated Licensing or Provisional Licensing Programs

MADD advocates that each state adopt and enforce laws providing for graduated licensing privileges which are more restrictive than full licenses. Early driving experiences must be acquired in a lower risk environment through extended restriction of no alcohol use, primary seatbelt enforcement, limitations on night time driving and teenage passengers, and no electronic devices. We support a requirement of parent and/or custodial training.  Appropriate restrictions should be lifted in stages, based on violation free driving. Violations should result in driver improvement actions, license revocation or administrative sanctions in addition to any criminal sanctions and penalties. (Updated November 2014)

Alcohol-Free Zones

MADD advocates that schools and other organizations hosting social and athletic gatherings for youth take positive steps to ensure that alcoholic beverages not be present at those gatherings and that persons with alcohol in their systems be prohibited from such events.

Adults Providing Alcohol to Underage Persons

MADD advocates for the criminalization of actions by adults who provide or allow alcoholic beverages at events for underage participants. MADD believes that when underage persons attend adult events where alcohol is present, that all adults must prohibit any consumption of alcohol by underage participants. (Updated November 2014)

Social Host Liability

MADD supports laws (case law or statute) which establish civil liability for adults who provide alcohol to underage persons or who allow underage persons to consume alcohol.

Alcohol Education/Prevention

MADD advocates for every state to fund and implement alcohol/drug education/prevention programs across the lifespan; this includes curriculum prevention programs in K through 12, Colleges, Universities, Trade Schools, Public, Private, and Faith Based Community Sectors, while also utilizing environmental prevention approaches such as Social Marketing and Education Campaigns.

MADD also supports existing and newly available evidence- and research-based prevention programs that have shown to reduce risk factors, including alcohol use and drinking and driving, while increasing protective factors, such as positive youth development and engagement. (Updated November 2014)

National 21 Minimum Drinking Age Law

MADD supports the research findings that the minimum age of 21 is effective in reducing alcohol-related problems. MADD advocates the establishment and maintenance of a uniform drinking age of 21 for all states, territories and jurisdictions of the United States. (Updated November 2014)

Child Endangerment

Mothers Against Drunk Driving supports the enhancement of sanctions against convicted drunk drivers when the offender was driving with a minor child in the vehicle. MADD also supports amendments to State Family Codes indicating that evidence of driving while intoxicated with children in the vehicle is considered against the “best interest of the child” in suits affecting the parent-child relationship

Keg Registration

MADD supports the requirement that all kegs and other large containers of alcoholic beverages be registered at point of purchase in order to facilitate identification of those who purchase illegally or to provide to youth under age 21.

No Mixed Messages

MADD advocates elimination of any statements, slogans and other educational messages which target youth in such a way that “mixed messages” about alcohol use are conveyed. Because of the ’21’ legal drinking age laws nationwide, messages which simply urge these youth not to drink and drive are inappropriate. Instead, messages to underage youth should convey clear “no use” messages.

Resolution of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Outlining MADD’s Alcohol Policies For College Campuses

WHEREAS, underage drinking, binge drinking, drinking and driving and other alcohol-related problems continue to be a major health and safety problem on college campuses; and

WHEREAS, many colleges and universities do not have comprehensive and consistent programs that both define their relationship with students and pose clear guidelines for students and campus behavior regarding alcohol; and

WHEREAS, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) believes that universities have a clear responsibility to:

  1. promote a no-use message and policy to underage students to ensure their safety;
  2. develop a strategic plan for reducing student alcohol use and commit their resources to this plan;
  3. educate students and parents on the alcohol policies of potential higher education choices;
  4. provide a basis for collaborative relationship between universities and community groups in an effort to prevent underage drinking and impaired driving on and around college campuses; and

WHEREAS, MADD believes that student involvement and input is essential to the development of programs to address and prevent underage drinking on and around college campuses; and

WHEREAS, in 1996, MADD’s Commission on Youth recommended that the organization create a rating system to assess efforts by colleges and universities to eliminate underage drinking and impaired driving and to provide universities, students and parents with a tool for assessing the quality of campus-based alcohol prevention efforts; and

WHEREAS, MADD’s objective for such a Rating The Colleges program is to promote a safe environment on college campuses which is conducive to academic achievement by preventing impaired driving and underage drinking, and;

WHEREAS, there is a need to outline alcohol policies that MADD believes have potential to prevent underage drinking on college and university campuses and for the purpose of developing a rating and assessment tool;

NOW THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED THAT the following alcohol policies for colleges and universities be adopted for the purpose of development and implementation of a Rating The Colleges program and to further MADD’s goal of eliminating underage drinking and underage drinking and driving.

MADD’s Alcohol Policies for the Colleges

a) State and local laws and ordinances relating to impaired driving and underage drinking should be enforced on campus:

  • MADD encourages all colleges to have a policy that states that alcohol is not to be sold to, provided to, or possessed by students under age 21 on their college campuses.
  • MADD recommends that separate living quarters which are designated as alcohol free residence halls be provided for freshmen and sophomores, or better yet, for all students under 21.
  • MADD recommends that there be agreements with local law enforcement agencies and campus police providing for reciprocity on the enforcement of age 21 and impaired driving laws.
  • MADD recommends that campuses create a centralized system-wide reporting mechanism for recording alcohol violations and alcohol involvement in campus rule or law violations.

b) Campus alcohol policy leadership:

  • MADD recommends that the administration work with the students, faculty and deans to establish a comprehensive written campus policy on alcohol sales, service, and advertising on campus and establish education and intervention programs designed to minimize alcohol problems among young adults to prevent underage drinking.
  • MADD recommends that a campus task force on drug and alcohol problem prevention be established which reports directly to the president and includes students and faculty as well as administrators.
  • MADD encourages college presidents to speak out in favor of state, local and campus policies and laws directed at reducing underage drinking and drunk driving.
  • MADD recommends that administrators print and distribute the campus rules on alcohol as part of the marketing materials sent out to prospective students and that a formal orientation to campus alcohol policies be held for each incoming freshman class.

c) The campus should implement responsible beverage service policies:

  • MADD recommends that students, faculty, deans and administrators all be involved in the development of responsible beverage service policies.
  • MADD recommends that campuses have a policy that limits the times and locations of parties on campus where alcohol is served, and limits attendance to students age 21 or older.
  • MADD recommends that all campus parties be registered in advance with a written contract specifying the responsible beverage service serving policies to be implemented with emphasis on the procedures for assuring that students under 21 are not served alcohol.
  • MADD recommends that trained servers over 21 be required at all campus events where alcohol is served or sold.
  • MADD recommends that organization sponsoring events at which alcohol is served be required to obtain liability insurance.
  • MADD recommends that a policy be established that the service of food and non-alcoholic drinks is required at campus events where alcohol is lawfully served.
  • MADD recommends that because of the difficulty of controlling service, that keg parties be banned.

d) Campus responsible alcohol sales policies:

  • MADD recommends that on campus pubs be avoided because they increase the availability of alcohol and are likely to encourage heavy drinking and underage drinking.
  • MADD recommends that the management of any on campus facility which serves alcohol be required to file a responsible beverage service plan with the administration. This plan must demonstrate that the management will avoid special alcohol promotions and insure that their staff training and sales policies are designed to prevent sales to underage persons and obviously intoxicated patrons.
  • MADD recommends that if alcohol is sold on campus, no one under 21 be employed to sell or serve alcohol.
  • MADD recommends that campus facilities that sell alcohol beverages be required to also provide food and non-alcohol drinks.
  • MADD recommends that alcoholic beverages should not be sold or served at any college athletic or sporting event.

e) Advertising and promoting alcohol on campus:

  • MADD has established the position that alcohol should not be advertised to youth. Because a large proportion of undergraduates are under age 21, MADD recommends that alcohol advertising not be permitted on campus. MADD recommends that sponsorship of campus events by alcohol beverage companies be avoided. In any case, reduced price promotions of alcoholic beverages should be banned.

f) Campus intervention programs:

  • MADD recommends that universities adopt the policy of referring to the health clinic any student found to be guilty of a campus rule violation if alcohol was a factor in the offense.
  • MADD recommends that training programs on methods for recognizing alcohol problems and on the procedures for referring students to health clinic programs be established for faculty, administrators and particularly athletic coaches.
  • MADD recommends that student health clinic staff ask questions about drinking whenever a student visits the clinic for health related services.

g) Campus-community cooperation on alcohol problem prevention:

  • MADD recommends that college administrators seek to establish community/campus task forces on alcohol and drug prevention programs.
  • MADD recommends that administrators assist surrounding communities to establish responsible beverage service programs and to use conditional use permits under local zoning laws to prevent undesirable clustering of alcohol sales outlets. (Adopted October 1997)

Positions on Sanctions

License Plate/Vehicle Impoundment And Confiscation

MADD advocates confiscating (or impounding) vehicles or plates from the vehicles of habitual impaired drivers or those who drive while under driver’s license suspension or revocation, where the suspension or revocation was the result of driving under the influence or any other alcohol related driving offense.

Administrative License Revocation

MADD advocates implementation of administrative drivers license revocation or suspension laws for drivers whose blood alcohol content exceeds the legal limit defined by law.

Progressive Sanctions

MADD advocates a two-track system of penalties applied in both the administrative and criminal justice systems. Designed to reduce impaired driving by repeat offenders and deter those who have not been detected, the system will administer progressively more severe sanctions to deter offenders who have not been detected and reduce recidivism of those who have been detected.

Mandatory Confinement for Repeat Offenders

MADD favors confinement which cannot be suspended or probated for those convicted more than once of driving while under the influence. Drunk driving is a crime, and continued incidence of such offenses warrants the punitive effect of a certain jail sentence. Making the sentence mandatory removes the uncertainty and increases deterrent value of the sanction.

Minimum Security DWI/DUI/ Facilities

MADD calls for the development of special minimum security facilities for incarceration of convicted DWI/DUI offenders, which include assessment and treatment while incarcerated.

Anti Charge Reduction

MADD believes that all who are charged with DUI/DWI offenses should be prosecuted as charged, rather than be allowed to negotiate to a lesser offense, especially a non alcohol related offense.

Equal Penalties

MADD believes that all impaired driving violations resulting in death or serious bodily injury, as well as leaving the scene of a crash, should be felonies. The penalties for these offenses should be equal.

DWI Tracking Systems

MADD supports the implementation of integrated DWI tracking systems that record pertinent information on DWI offenses from arrest to final disposition by the courts and driver license agencies. Tracking systems should include arrest records from all police agencies, prosecution court deposition and driver licensing records and should be accessible by all law enforcement agencies and courts.

Probationary Technology

MADD supports investigation and evaluation of new scientific technology designed to prevent individuals form driving under the influence of alcohol, such as ignition interlock device; however MADD does not support the use of such technology as a substitute for appropriate traditional penalties and sanctions for drunk driving, such as license revocation and jail sentences.

Ignition Interlock Devices

MADD supports the use of ignition interlock devices as an additional penalty and sanction for drunk driving offenders. The use of such devices should be in addition to normal sanctions such as fines, license sanctions and jail sentences. MADD supports laws that would require that offenders install these devices on their vehicles during probationary periods and as a prerequisite to being issued a limited driving permit or a probationary or restricted license, where such restricted permits are permitted by law.

Positions on Responsible Marketing and Service

Responsible Serving Practices and Server Training

MADD advocates more widespread implementation of responsible beverage serving practices and training to include instruction of both management and servers for licensed outlets as well as any individuals or organizations who serve alcohol in settings frequented by those under the age of 21. MADD further advocates expanded education on responsible social hosting.

Dram Shop Liability

MADD strongly supports by means of legislation or case law the right of victims of alcohol related traffic crashes to seek financial recovery from establishments and servers who have irresponsibly provided alcohol to those who are intoxicated or to underage persons, or who serve past the point of intoxication individuals who then cause fatal or injurious crashes.

Non-Drinking Designated Driver Programs

Mothers Against Drunk Driving advocates the promotion of non-drinking designated driver programs in both social host settings and licensed establishments, in order to further reinforce a responsible public approach to alcohol use wherever driving may be involved.

Practices Which Encourage Excessive Alcohol Consumption (Happy Hours)

MADD calls upon the hospitality industry to voluntarily end all practices associated with excessive alcohol consumption. MADD also supports state agencies and legislatures which pass clear and comprehensive guidelines which prohibit such practices in all fifty states.

The Responsible Use Of Alcohol

MADD urges that those Americans of drinking age who choose to drink do so in a responsible manner, avoiding any driving after drinking.

Alcohol Warning Labels

MADD has endorsed the concept of requiring warning labels on alcoholic beverages stating that alcohol will impair skills necessary for operation of motor vehicles or heavy machinery. The use of such warnings is consistent with similar warnings on other hazardous substances and will provide a direct opportunity to educate the public concerning the risks involved in alcohol consumption.

Uniform Bar Closing

MADD advocates setting uniform statewide cut off limits on the sale of alcoholic beverages in order to end the practice of “barhopping” to find establishments with later closing hours for “one last drink” with the likelihood of impaired driving as a result.

Responsible Advertising and Marketing Practices

Because of the large consumption of alcohol by underage drinkers and problem drinkers, and because of the role such drinkers play in the problem of impaired driving, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is legitimately concerned about the proliferation of alcohol advertising and the manner in which beverage alcohol products are advertised and otherwise promoted.

MADD makes no distinction among various types of alcohol. A 12 ounce can of regular beer, a 5 ounce glass of wine, a 12 ounce wine cooler, and 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits contain the same amount of alcohol. Therefore, MADD strongly believes that all alcohol advertising and marketing should be subject to the same restrictions and standards.

In addition, MADD believes media entities (television, radio, magazines, newspapers, and internet) should establish and/or be held accountable to strong guidelines that will restrict alcohol advertising and marketing from reaching underage audiences and that those standards should apply to all alcohol advertising including beer, wine, distilled spirits, and malt beverages.

Media guidelines should include:

  • Time, place, and manner restrictions on all television alcoholic beverage advertising so as to limit the exposure of underage viewers to such advertising.
  • A matching amount and comparable placement of air time/ad space for alcohol-related public health and alcohol-related safety messages for young people and adults. These counter-ads must be produced by a government agency or an independent agency or public health experts not affiliated with the alcohol industry.
  • Application of MADD’s standards to product promotion at events that are likely to be televised.

Accordingly, MADD issues the following set of standards to guide the advertisement and promotion of all beverage alcohol products and authorizes MADD entities to identify and bring to public attention examples of advertising, promotions, or other marketing activities that violate these standards.

In these standards, beverage alcohol advertising is meant to include all advertising, promotions, or other marketing activities used to sell or otherwise promote beverage alcohol products or alcohol-related paraphernalia by any company, association or other organization that is part of the alcohol industry.

By the “alcohol industry,” MADD means the following entities or their representatives:

  1. Alcohol producers, including distillers, brewers, and wineries and their subsidiaries
  2. Alcohol distributors, wholesalers, and retailers whose primary income comes from trade in alcohol products
  3. Alcohol trade associations whose principal mission is to further the business interests of alcohol producers, distributors, wholesalers, or retailers
  4. Non-profit public service organizations that receive the majority of their funds from alcohol interests, either directly or indirectly

Beverage alcohol advertising should not:

  1. Portray or encourage drinking by individuals under the age of 21
  2. Feature actors, models or other talent or characters under the age of 30
  3. Be broadcast to audiences with less than 90% adult aged 21 and older viewership
  4. Feature on-camera consumption
  5. Use celebrities, music stars, athletes, animals, cartoon characters, or other language or images that appeal to youth
  6. Depict sports, rock concerts, or other events with strong appeal to youth
  7. Target spring break activities or cultural, sporting or marketing events where it can be anticipated that more than 30% of the audience will be made up of people under the age of 21
  8. Include the licensing of youth-oriented clothing or toys that feature alcohol brand names, logos, or trade characters
  9. Portray or encourage drinking by pregnant women or women seeking to become pregnant
  10. Model, suggest, or otherwise encourage heavy consumption
  11. Promote underage drinking as a “rite of passage”
  12. Portray or encourage drinking by alcoholics or other groups particularly vulnerable to alcohol. State or imply that any level of alcohol consumption is risk-free or safe
  13. Associate alcohol consumption with high-risk activities or with situations that require alertness
  14. Depict revelry or hint at the possibility of inebriation
  15. Portray drinking as a means to achieve popularity or social acceptance, enhance sex appeal, obtain personal achievements, improve social or financial status
  16. Portray drinking as a means to relieve stress or provide solutions to problems
  17. Portray drinking in association with sexual passion, promiscuity, or any other amorous activity as a consequence of or in association with alcohol consumption
  18. Disproportionately target ethnic minority communities

Alcohol Product Packaging

Because of MADD’s position on underage drinking and because of the role underage drinkers play in the problem of alcohol impaired driving, MADD is rightly concerned about the manner in which alcohol products are packaged for sale. Accordingly, MADD issues the following set of standards to guide the packaging of beverage alcohol products and authorizes the National Office to identify and bring to public attention examples of product packaging that violate these standards.

1) Food or beverage products containing alcohol should not be sold in packaging that

a) resembles or could be mistaken for standard packaging for non-lcoholic products, or

b) serves to misrepresent or otherwise create confusion about the amount of alcohol these products contain.

2) Alcohol content information for all food and beverage products containing alcohol should be presented on product labels and packaging in a non-promotional manner that truly informs the consumer as to the products’ actual alcohol content.

Alcohol content should be expressed in terms of unit service size, defined as the amount of alcohol contained in a “standard drink.” The number of drinks contained should be rounded to the nearest quarter drink.

A “standard drink” should be defined as a serving of malt beverage, wine, or distilled spirit that contains .56 ounces of alcohol by volume, equivalent to 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine and 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits (80 proof).

Privatization of State Alcohol Sales

MADD supports the retention of government control of retail alcoholic beverage sales in jurisdictions considering transfer of such control to the private sector. An analysis of 17 peer-reviewed studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was reported in The Guide to Community Prevention Services (April 2012). The CDC concluded that privatization of alcohol sales will result in a reduction in the enforcement of sales regulations including enforcement of the minimum legal drinking age.

Therefore, policies or legislation transferring state alcohol control to private control are counter to MADD’s mission of eliminating drunk driving and preventing underage drinking.

Positions on Enforcement

Sobriety Checkpoints and High Visibility Enforcement

MADD supports the frequent and regular use of highly publicized sobriety checkpoints and other high visibility enforcement programs to detect and apprehend alcohol and other drug impaired drivers, and as a visible deterrent to drinking and driving.

Preliminary Breath Testers (PBTs) and Passive Alcohol Sensors (PASs)

MADD supports providing the most modern technology (Preliminary Breath Testers – PBTs) to police officers investigating alcohol impaired drivers, both to increase the efficiency of the arrest process and to protect the innocent.

.08 Per Se BAC

MADD supports setting the illegal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for non-commercial drivers age 21 and older at .08 per se.

Mandatory BAC Testing for Death and Serious Injury

MADD advocates the mandatory requirement of alcohol/drug testing of all drivers in all traffic crashes resulting in fatalities or serious bodily injury.

Enforcement Technology

MADD supports the testing of and development, evaluation and implementation of new technology to assist police in the enforcement of DWI/DUI laws. Examples of such new technology include passive alcohol sensors, video recording of DWI/DUI offenders and in-vehicle computer terminals for license/criminal records checks.

Drug Recognition Expert Program

MADD supports the Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) program and calls on all states to participate in this endeavor. Having adequately trained and vigorous law enforcement assigned to state and local law enforcement should be every state’s goal for the DRE program. It is recommended that all state and local law enforcement agencies make DRE training a priority and have an adequate number of DREs within the state and local patrol. Any funding for this program should be new, and additional funding should not come from existing anti-drunk driving efforts.

Open Containers in Vehicles

MADD endorses open container restrictions which prevent the consumption of alcohol or the possession of open containers of alcohol in any motor vehicle.

Racial Profiling

MADD supports continued efforts to eliminate racial profiling and enforce drunk driving and underage drinking laws effectively and without prejudice.

MADD supports law enforcement’s efforts to protect society from needless death and injury by strictly enforcing alcohol impaired driving and underage drinking laws. While the enforcement of traffic laws is essential in keeping our nation’s highways safe, MADD also realizes any enforcement of our laws needs to be accomplished without prejudice, while protecting those individual rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution, and treating everyone with dignity and respect.

MADD strongly supports accurate and appropriate data collection on traffic stops to identify and discourage improprieties and provide the information needed to enact appropriate policies and strategies. MADD also supports implementation of video cameras to document activities and protect both the officer and community.

MADD strongly encourages law enforcement agencies to continue implementing appropriate policies and procedures to ensure that racial profiling does not occur and to investigate allegations of racial profiling and take immediate action on any proven violations.

Support for Full Funding of Law Enforcement

MADD supports law enforcement and urges federal, state, local and tribal governments to provide the funding necessary for them to be effective in fulfilling the traffic law enforcement portion of their mission.

Alcohol Assessment and Treatment

Alcohol Assessment and Treatment

MADD supports mandatory alcohol assessment of all DUI/DWI offenders with mandatory alcohol treatment for all repeat DUI/DWI offenders for a period of at least one year with close supervision and monitoring to ensure compliance with the treatment program.

MADD supports the development and use of special minimum-security facilities for incarceration of convicted DUI/DWI offenders with alcohol assessment and treatment programs required as part of the incarceration.

MADD supports efforts to provide funds for impaired driving programs including adequate DUI/DWI prevention, deterrence programs, education, law enforcement, substance abuse treatment and victim assistance through the use of offender-generated fees and fines as well as other assessments including alcohol beverage taxes to ensure a reliable source of funding for effective programs and to place the burden of these programs where it belongs; on the drunk driver.

MADD supports a prevention component to health care reform and supports a substantial increase in taxation on alcoholic beverages as a means of covering the costs to society caused by the misuse of alcohol and as a means of supporting prevention programs including countermeasures to alcohol-impaired driving.

MADD supports an increase in excise taxes on wine and beer to alcoholic equivalent to taxes on distilled spirits and indexation of tax rates applicable to alcoholic beverages as a means of covering costs to society caused by misuse of alcohol and as a means of supporting prevention programs including countermeasures to alcohol-impaired driving.

MADD opposes the use of diversionary, Probation Before Judgment or similar programs which would enable offenders charged with DUI/DWI offenses to avoid statutory sanctions that would otherwise be imposed upon arrest and/or conviction and record of conviction and license sanctions.

Insurance Industry Barriers

MADD believes that medical benefits coverage in health insurance policies should permit hospital personnel to screen trauma patients (including blood alcohol testing) for alcohol treatment as necessary. In order to achieve this hospital intervention, MADD supports the removal of exclusionary coverage provisions which provide any barrier to medical or drug and alcohol treatment in health insurance policies and the elimination of sections of state laws and regulatory policies that allow such exclusions.

DUI/DWI Courts

MADD supports the use of post-adjudication DUI/DWI courts that employ the strategies of close supervision, frequent testing, and ongoing judicial interaction to integrate alcohol and other drug treatment services with the justice system. DWI/DUI courts should not be used to avoid a record of conviction and/or license sanctions.

Victim-Related Position Statements

Roadside Memorials

MADD supports the efforts of victims/survivors of impaired driving crashes to place roadside memorials safely and within sanctioned areas in each state. MADD recognizes that remembering and honoring a loved one, who has died in an impaired driving crash, is an important part of the healing journey. Additionally, roadside memorials provide a poignant visual reminder to other drivers that too many lives are lost every year on our roadways, thus raising awareness and promoting road safety concerning impaired driving.

Constitutional Amendments for Victim’s Rights

MADD believes that since Statutory Bills of Rights are only sporadically and intermittently enforced, State Constitutional Amendments for victim rights will more definitively offer victims of drunk driving crashes the right to be informed of, present at, and heard in the criminal justice process. Therefore, all states should have a State Constitutional Amendment to provide for and protect the rights of crime victims throughout the criminal justice process.

Victim Bill of Rights

MADD advocates measures to accord victims of alcohol and drug-related crashes rights and protections, including a voice in the judicial system, through statutory Victim Bills of Rights in every state.

Compensation for Victims of Drunk Driving Crashes

MADD advocates that states provide a source of compensation funds for the financial losses and expenses of all victims of violent crime, including DWI/DUI victims and survivors of loved ones killed by an impaired driver. These programs should be funded by fees assessed to offenders as well as from other sources.

Tort Reform and Victim Rights

MADD stands firmly for the rights of victims of alcohol and other drug impaired driving crimes, in particular the right to be compensated fairly for harm suffered at the hands of impaired drivers. The dictionary defines a “tort” as a “civil wrong, not including a breach of contract, for which the injured party in entitled to compensation.”

At the present time, a great deal of controversy is being focused on efforts to modify tort and liability laws on the state and federal level. While the complexity and variety of laws in this area make it difficult to adopt a single position which will address all issues surrounding tort reform, MADD recognizes that there is a need to promote and sustain the rights to victims of impaired driving crashes to be fully compensated for harm resulting from these crashes. Such compensation includes financial recovery through state administered Victim Compensation Programs and civil tort actions in state or federal court. In light of this stand, a number of principles can be pronounced which bear on these issues.

As an advocate for victims of impaired driving crashes, MADD needs to protect and support victims and guard against passage of laws which would diminish or restrict the rights of these victims to be compensated. However, the MADD National Organization, MADD State Organizations, and local MADD Chapters should not align themselves with other groups organized to support or oppose tort reform measures. Neither should MADD’s name be used in public service announcements, commercials or other endorsements developed by other groups or coalitions.

MADD should speak up independently on behalf of the victims and their rights and needs. MADD can also speak out on the impact a proposed law would have on victims rights to recover compensation. Fair financial compensation for victims of impaired driving crashes is appropriate and necessary and MADD will firmly support measures which protect this right.

In this regard, MADD makes the following statements concerning specific tort reform issues which are paramount to victims rights to recover:

  1. MADD opposes any measures which will restrict or in any way limit the rights of victims of impaired driving crashes to seek and recover punitive damages in any cause of action arising out of impaired driving crashes.
  2. MADD opposes any measures, such as joint and several liability revisions, which would prohibit the victim of an impaired driving crash from seeking full recovery of damages awarded from each defendant in cases where the evidence supports a finding that the conduct of each defendant, independent of the other defendant or defendants, was or could have been the proximate cause of death or injury.
  3. MADD opposes any measures that would limit the amount of damages that a victim of an impaired driving crash could recover in cases resulting in death or injury.
  4. MADD opposes any measures to modify laws which could limit the rights of victims of impaired driving crashes to seek recovery in any dram shop or other third-party liability action which may be brought against the seller or provider of any alcoholic beverage.
  5. MADD opposes any measures which would modify the “collateral source rule” so as to provide for a reduction in the amount of damages awarded to the victim of an impaired driving crash based on benefits which may be available to the victim through policies of insurance purchased by the victim or provided on his behalf by a third party.
  6. MADD takes no position on the following issues:
    • “no-fault insurance” laws
    • the “English Rule” or loser pays provisions relating to the award of attorneys fees in civil cases
    • limitations on medical benefits available under policies of insurance where the insured has the option of selecting the amount of coverage at the time of purchase of the policy.

These positions on tort reform measures are not intended to be all inclusive. MADD will continue to evaluate tort reform issues as they arise in light of the rights of victims of impaired driving crashes to be fairly and fully compensated for death or injury caused by impaired drivers.

Position's on Drugged Driving

Underage Consumption of Marijuana

MADD believes that states which legalize the recreational use of Marijuana should restrict its sale to those who are age 21 and older.

Legalization of Marijuana and Other Drugs

Like alcohol, MADD does not take a position on the legalization of recreational use of marijuana or other drugs. MADD’s role in this debate is to advocate for measures that will keep our roads safe from any impaired driving.

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

Alcohol is the most dangerous drug on our nation’s roadways, causing nearly one-third of all traffic deaths each year. MADD acknowledges the problem of driving under the influence of drugs other than alcohol (DUID*) and its consequences. Driving under the influence of a drug that impairs one’s ability to drive can result in needless traffic deaths and injuries.

MADD supports the enforcement, prosecution, and adjudication of DUID laws and a victim’s right of recovery in crashes caused by drug-impaired drivers. MADD will continue to monitor research developments on the drug-impaired driving problem.

*DUID commonly refers to drugs other than alcohol.

Crash Testing

MADD supports mandatory testing for the presence of alcohol and other drugs in all fatal crashes. MADD recommends standardized guidance for law enforcement and laboratories for collecting, testing and analyzing toxicology tests for alcohol, marijuana and other drugs.

Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST)

SFST remains the foundation of impaired driving detection and enforcement. MADD expects every state to require SFST training for officers assigned to patrol functions. Without having the basic SFST skills, police officers may not always detect an impaired driver when contacted at roadside. It is recommended, therefore, that all states make SFST training mandatory for all officers working patrol duties and also ensure that officers have mandatory

SFST refresher training available to them three years after completing the basic SFST training.

Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) Training State Coordinator

MADD believes that states must ensure that the SFST training conducted is the most current and up-to-date curriculum, is standardized and complies with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA)/International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) minimum guidelines established by the IACP Technical Advisory Panel (TAP). Some states defer SFST training to individual instructors or law enforcement agencies rather than having it coordinated on a statewide, standardized basis. To ensure consistency and standardization in the training, it is recommended that all states establish a statewide SFST coordinator. The state coordinator would be responsible for ensuring that the most current SFST curriculum is taught and that SFST instructors are properly trained and prepared for teaching the IACP/NHTSA SFST curriculum.

Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) Training

MADD supports ARIDE training which bridges the gap between Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) and Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) training. It provides police officers with the basic skills in identifying and detecting drug-impaired drivers. The training is taught by DRE instructors and also ensures the officer’s SFST proficiency. It is recommended that ARIDE training be mandatory for all police officers working patrol duties.

Drug Recognition Expert Program

MADD supports the Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) program and calls on all states to participate in this endeavor. Having adequately trained and vigorous law enforcement assigned to state and local law enforcement should be every state’s goal for the DRE program. It is recommended that all state and local law enforcement agencies make DRE training a priority and have an adequate number of DREs within the state and local patrol. Any funding for this program should be new, and additional funding should not come from existing anti-drunk driving efforts.

Drug Recognition Expert National Tracking System

MADD supports efforts by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, working in conjunction with the International Association of Chiefs of Police, to continue to develop a national tracking system to collect data on Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) evaluations of suspected drug-impaired drivers. The national tracking system allows NHTSA, IACP and DRE state coordinators to determine and track the activities of DREs and information on the various types of drugs used by suspected drugged drivers evaluated by the DREs nationally.

Other Positions

Safe Ride Programs

In order to ensure that the transportation choices are safe and reliable, MADD believes that decisions and arrangements should be made before drinking begins. MADD supports using non-drinking designated drivers, public transportation, safe ride programs, or other means of traveling safely after drinking alcohol for individuals 21 and older.

MADD fully understands all of the harms and risks associated with underage drinking and supports the 21 minimum drinking age law. MADD advocates enforcement of underage drinking laws, therefore MADD cannot condone the marketing of safe ride programs to those under the legal drinking age. We do support youth under the age of 21 to obtain a safe ride home. (Updated November 2014)

Insurance Industry Barriers

MADD believes that medical benefits coverage in health insurance policies should permit hospital personnel to screen trauma patients (including blood alcohol testing) for alcohol treatment as necessary. In order to achieve this hospital intervention, MADD supports the removal of exclusionary coverage provisions which provide any barrier to medical or drug and alcohol treatment in health insurance policies and the elimination of sections of state laws and regulatory policies that allow such exclusions. (Adopted February 2001)

DWI Fees, Fines and Assessments – Self-Sufficiency Programs

MADD supports efforts to provide funds for impaired driving programs including adequate DWI/DUI prevention, deterrence programs, education, law enforcement, substance abuse treatment and victim assistance through the use of offender-generated fees and fines as well as other assessments including alcohol beverage taxes to ensure a reliable source of funding for effective programs and to place the burden of these programs where it belongs; on the drunk driver.

Alcohol Taxation and Health Care Prevention

MADD supports a prevention component to health care reform and supports a substantial increase in taxation on alcoholic beverages as a means of covering the cost to society caused by misuse of alcohol and as a means of supporting prevention programs including countermeasures to alcohol-impaired driving.

Excise Taxes on Alcoholic Beverages

MADD supports an increase on wine and beer to the alcohol equivalent of taxes on distilled spirits, and the indexation of tax rates applicable to alcoholic beverages as a means of recovering costs to society caused by misuse of alcohol and as a means of supporting prevention programs including countermeasures to alcohol-impaired driving. MADD does not support decreasing the excise tax on any alcoholic beverage.

Use of Diversionary and Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) Programs

MADD opposes the use of diversionary, Probation Before Judgment or similar programs which would enable offenders charged with DUI/DWI offenses to avoid (a) statutory sanctions that would otherwise be imposed upon arrest and/or conviction and (b) record of conviction and license sanctions.

MADD’s Relationships with the Alcohol Industry

It is essential to define what types of working relationships MADD can enter into with the alcohol industry.

The term “alcohol industry,” is defined to include the following entities or their representatives:

  1. Alcohol producers include distillers, brewers and wineries.
  2. Alcohol distributors and wholesalers whose primary income comes from trade in alcohol products, with exception of government entities.
  3. Retailers whose primary income comes from trade in alcohol products, with the exception of government entities.
  4. Alcohol trade associations whose principal mission is to further the business interests of alcohol producers, distributors, wholesalers or retailers.
  5. Non-profit public service organization that receive the majority of their funds from alcohol interests, either directly or indirectly.

MADD reiterates its policy of not accepting funding or in?kind contributions from the alcohol industry, as defined in this position statement.

By this position statement, MADD establishes the following policies regarding working with the alcohol industry:

  1. Dialog includes consultations and conversations, discussions, or other exchanges of information or ideas, either formal or informal. Nothing in this position statement shall be construed as to prohibit any form of dialogue by MADD with the alcohol industry or its representatives.
  2. Collaboration includes joint projects or other cooperative ventures that do not entail either a legal partnership of membership in a formal coalition. Collaboration by MADD with the alcohol industry or its representatives is not prohibited, unless and until a prohibition against a specific entity has been approved by majority vote of the National Board of Directors.
  3. MADD membership in an incorporated or otherwise formal coalition that is led or controlled by or receives the majority of its funding from the alcohol industry is prohibited, unless and until an exception has been approved by majority vote of the National Board of Directors.
  4. MADD shall not work in legal partnership with the alcohol industry or its representatives, as established through an enforceable contract or any other legal mechanism, unless and until and exception has been approved by majority vote of the National Board of Directors.

Pre-Employment Alcohol Testing

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) hereby supports a revision in requirements under the Transportation Employee Testing Act to call for mandatory post-hiring/pre-duty alcohol testing, rather than pre-employment testing, of all workers in safety-sensitive positions in the transportation industry. MADD continues to support strict and increased enforcement of mandatory random, post-crash and for-cause alcohol testing as well as any other testing requirements under current law.

Operating Under the Influence

MADD is opposed to the operation of any vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. MADD supports legislation that would impose effective sanctions against offenders charged with the crimes of operating or being in actual physical control of any motor vehicle, boat, aircraft, rail or personal recreational motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving Resolution on Wireless Telephone Communications for Reporting Drunk Drivers and Traffic Emergencies

WHEREAS, MADD has long advocated that its members and the public at large report suspected impaired drivers to law enforcement; and

WHEREAS, MADD recognizes the benefits of wireless telephones in vehicles for the purpose of reporting suspected impaired drivers as well as for prompt response to medical emergencies following traffic crashes and other emergency situations;

THEREFORE, MADD supports the use of wireless telephones in this manner as an additional tool which can play an important role in the war against drunk driving.

FURTHER, MADD hereby encourages and supports a strong education program for wireless communications users in the proper and safe use of this technology and in its use to report suspected drunk drivers, crashes and other traffic safety-related emergencies.

Medical Personnel/BAC Reporting on Injured Drivers

Mothers Against Drunk Driving supports legislation that would require hospital or medical personnel to report to local law enforcement agencies, as soon as reasonably possible, positive blood alcohol test results of individuals involved in vehicle crashes where such tests results are known as a result of treatment. Such laws should also provide immunity from liability to the hospital, medical facility, or personnel providing such information. (Adopted October 1997)

Enhanced/Escalating Penalties For DUI/DWI Based On Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Level

As part of the progressive sanctions approach to impaired driving and in an effort to impact the higher risk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) supports legislation that would provide for enhanced or escalating penalties for drivers convicted of DUI/DWI whose blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of arrest was .15 or higher

Occupant Protection

MADD advocates increased use of occupant protection for all motor vehicle drivers and passengers and recognizes the need for publicized, enforced safety belt and child seat laws as a major defense against alcohol- and other drug-impaired drivers.

Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Regulation Enforcement

MADD advocates increased enforcement of alcohol beverage control regulations as well as more stringent license action penalties for establishments not in compliance with those regulations.

Personal Alcohol Tests

MADD does not support the use of personal alcohol tests to assist a driver in making decisions about his or her ability to safely operate a motor vehicle after consuming alcoholic beverages.

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

Alcohol is the most dangerous drug on our nation’s roadways, causing nearly one-third of all traffic deaths each year. MADD acknowledges the problem of driving under the influence of drugs other than alcohol (DUID*) and its consequences. Driving under the influence of a drug that impairs one’s ability to drive can result in needless traffic deaths and injuries.

MADD supports the enforcement, prosecution, and adjudication of DUID laws and a victim’s right of recovery in crashes caused by drug-impaired drivers. MADD will continue to monitor research developments on the drug-impaired driving problem.

*DUID commonly refers to drugs other than alcohol.

Trauma and Emergency Care

MADD encourages trauma and emergency care clinicians to screen their patients for alcohol use problems. If a health care professional identifies a patient who is misusing alcohol, he or she should advise the patient about the potential risks of their drinking – including drunk driving crashes. In addition, he or she should have information about available resources to help the patient with their problem.

Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutors (TSRP)

MADD supports the use of specialized DUI prosecutor trainers, also known as Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutors (TSRP), and specialized DUI trial prosecutors.

Racial Profiling

MADD supports continued efforts to eliminate racial profiling and enforce drunk driving and underage drinking laws effectively and without prejudice.

MADD supports law enforcement’s efforts to protect society from needless death and injury by strictly enforcing alcohol impaired driving and underage drinking laws. While the enforcement of traffic laws is essential in keeping our nation’s highways safe, MADD also realizes any enforcement of our laws needs to be accomplished with prejudice, while protecting those individual rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution, and treating everyone with dignity and respect.

MADD strongly supports accurate and appropriate data collection on traffic stops to identify and discourage improprieties and provide the information needed to enact appropriate policies and strategies. MADD also supports implementation of video cameras to document activities and protect both the officer and community.

MADD strongly encourages law enforcement agencies to continue implementing appropriate policies and procedures to ensure that racial profiling does not occur and to investigate allegations of racial profiling and take immediate action on any proven violations.

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