Do you need help because someone you know is driving under the influence?
We count on concerned citizens like you to help us put an end to impaired driving and underage drinking. Without you, there is no us. Help us put an end to drunk driving, fight drugged driving and prevent underage drinking.
Here are a few things you can do to help put an end to these 100% preventable crimes:
While, we’re not suggesting you ever take the law into your own hands, or put yourself in danger, your vigilance on the road can help keep our roadways safe—for you, your loved ones and your neighbors.
Here are a few signs that a fellow motorist may be driving while impaired:
Quick acceleration or deceleration
Weaving or zig-zagging across the road
Driving anywhere other than on a road designated for vehicles
Almost striking an object, curb, or vehicle
Stopping without cause or erratic braking
Drifting in and out of traffic lanes
Signaling that is inconsistent with driving actions
Slow response to traffic signals (e.g. sudden stop or delayed start)
Straddling the center lane marker
Driving with headlights off at night
Driving slower than 10 mph below the speed limit
Turning abruptly or illegally
Driving into opposing traffic on the wrong side of the road
Now that you know what to look for, what can you do to ensure this driver gets off the road as quickly as possible, without endangering yourself or others? You can start by following these three steps.
Stay as far away from the other vehicle as possible. Don’t try to pass the vehicle or get the driver’s attention—you’ll only put yourself and others at risk of a crash.
Try to get a good look at the license plate number and any other distinguishing details of the vehicle—the make, model and color, etc. Just make sure you don’t compromise your own safety while trying to get this information.
Call 911. If you have a hands-free way to make calls from your car, great. Otherwise, pull over before making the call. Give the exact location of the vehicle, including the name of the road or cross streets and the direction the vehicle is traveling. Give a complete description of the vehicle and the reasons you for suspecting the driver may be impaired.
Then leave the rest up to the heroes that work hard to make our roads safe.
The best way to prevent someone from driving impaired is to plan ahead — make sure you have a sober designated driver, and make sure everyone agrees to it ahead of time.
But, sometimes even the best laid plans don’t turn out as expected, so if you are faced with a situation where someone who’s impaired is trying to drive, here are some tips on how to stop them and keep everyone safe:
Be as non-confrontational as possible.
Suggest alternate ways of getting to their destination—a cab, Lyft/Uber, a sober driver, or public transportation.
Remember that the person you are talking to is impaired—talk a bit more slowly and explain things more fully than if you were speaking to a sober person.
Explain that you don’t want them to drive because you care and you don’t want them to hurt themselves or others.
Suggest that they sleep over.
Enlist a friend to help you or to act as moral support—it’s more difficult to say “no” to two (or three or four) people than one.
If possible, ask friends who plan to drink to give up their keys before they start drinking.
If all else fails, call law enforcement. It’s better to have a friend arrested than injured or killed.
For more tips on what can be done to prevent someone from driving under the influence, download our brochure or call our 24/7 Victim Help Line: 877.MADD.HELP.
Driving impaired with a child in the vehicle is child abuse.
No child should be in danger from drunk or drugged driving, especially by someone entrusted to keep them safe—like a parent or caregiver. Minor children often have no choice when it comes to riding with an impaired driver.
Over half of all children killed in drunk driving crashes are killed while riding with the drunk driver. We believe that drunk driving is not only irresponsible but criminal. And having a child in the car elevates this criminal act to child abuse.
So, what can you do to help?
To start, you can call our toll-free, 24/7 Victim Help Line at 877-MADD-HELP.
Driving under the influence with a child in the vehicle constitutes child abuse. That’s why MADD believes additional sanctions should be placed on those who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a child in the vehicle—regular sanctions and treatment are not enough.
43 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, whereas in Wisconsin, the same offense is a misdemeanor.