In our nearly 4 decades, Mothers Against Drunk Driving has stood for numerous laws aimed at fighting to end drunk driving. Because of those laws, the number of drunk driving deaths has been cut in half since 1980. But while there have been great strides in ending drunk driving, it remains the leading killer on our nation’s roads, claiming 10,000 lives every year. Even more troubling, drunk driving deaths increased between 2015 and 2016, after years of steady decline. So what will we be doing to further our fight against drunk driving this year?
Where We’re Focusing Our Efforts in 2018
There are always new ways to combat drunk and drugged driving. Advanced vehicle technology has provided us with new ways to create safer roads through ignition interlock systems and the rise of automated cars.
Additionally, MADD is planning to continue advocating for high-visibility law enforcement checkpoints. Well-publicized sobriety checkpoints have been proven to reduce instances of drunk driving, saving lives and creating safer roads.
A Future Free of Drunk Driving
As Velodyne LiDAR said in a blog last week, automated cars could be the key to eliminating drunk driving completely. On June 14, 2017, MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church testified before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in support of autonomous vehicle technology as another way to combat drunk driving. This year, through partnership with Velodyne LiDAR, MADD hopes to continue taking steps forward in the mainstream use of driverless cars.
The Real Impact of Ignition Interlocks
When the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® began, New Mexico was the only state that required interlocks for all convicted offenders. Today, 30 states and Washington, D.C. require interlocks for all drunk drivers, and every state has some ignition interlock law.
Studies have shown that all-offender interlock laws would reduce drunk driving deaths by 15% nationwide. That’s why MADD’s top legislative priority is to work with each state to enact the strongest possible all-offender interlock laws.
High-Visibility Law Enforcement
Studies show that sobriety checkpoints reduce drunk driving crashes by 20%. But in recent years, some states have chosen to ignore the real results of sobriety checkpoints in favor of other methods.
Sobriety checkpoints send a message to drivers that if they drink and drive, they will get caught. While the checkpoints remove drunk drivers from the road, their value as a deterrent can’t be underestimated. Just knowing that the checkpoints are out there is enough to stop many drivers from drinking, ultimately saving lives.
Ending drunk driving altogether is not an unrealistic goal. We may one day live in a world where drunk driving is no longer an issue. Until that day, there is still much work to do. The year before we started our Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, there were about 13,000 drunk driving deaths per year. Today, drunk driving deaths are down by 23.5 percent. But we can’t and won’t rest until we’ve achieved a future of No More Victims.