Law Enforcement Support

I remember his shoes in the grass.

The Miami-Dade traffic homicide detective had come to deliver the worst news of my life. My 16-year-old daughter, Helen Marie, was rollerblading on a bike path a few blocks from home when a teen driver, high on marijuana and drunk on tequila, ran off the road and killed her.

When she hadn’t come home that June night, my husband had gone to look for her.

Now he was back. With a detective. Without Helen Marie. I ran through the grass, screaming.

I already knew what the officer was about to say. I could not look up. It was too heavy.

So I screamed at his shoes.

What courage it must have taken. To tell a mother her child was dead. What compassion he showed.

A few years later, I met the officer again. Mothers Against Drunk Driving had given me a platform for my grief. It started at a police roll call, just more than a year after Helen Marie’s death, where I was asked to stand up and tell my story. I began attending sobriety checkpoints, bringing the cookies my daughter loved to bake. And I went into schools, where I tried to reach teenagers who might be faced with the choice to drink alcohol — and get behind the wheel.

The officer’s name was David Greenwell, and he was on a similar mission. When he told me his name that day at the school, I asked to see his shoes. It was the only thing I could remember about him.

He lifted his heel. We remain friends to this day, just like so many of the law enforcement officers I have met on this journey. He is an avid supporter of MADD, and I still call on him.

Before Helen Marie was killed, I did not truly understand the vital role law enforcement plays in our fight to end this crime. Now I do. You are the tip of the spear. Your work changes lives. It saves lives.

A person drives drunk an average of at least 80 times before their first DUI arrest, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When you take a drunk driver off the road, you are taking away their potential to injure or kill. You are ensuring that one more person makes it home. That one more family, one more community, is spared the devastation that this crime inflicts. And you are doing it at great personal risk. The sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols you perform act as a deterrent not to just drunk driving but to all crimes.

We could not perform our mission without you. On behalf of MADD and myself, thank you. We are here to support you. Just like you support us every day.


Helen Witty

All Drunk Drivers are High Risk

This year Mothers Against Drunk Driving is celebrating our 40th anniversary. MADD’s impact since our founding in 1980 is undeniable. MADD started a cultural revolution that made drunk driving unacceptable. MADD was THE grass roots organization who lead the way reducing drunk driving deaths in half from approximately 22,000 deaths in 1980 to 10,511 fatalities in 2018. MADD achieved this result thanks to our ardent network of victims, volunteers, traffic safety partners, and law enforcement officers like you. But our work is far from over. MADD will not be satisfied until we have a nation of No More Victims.

You are MADD’s Heroes, a title we give to the most dedicated enforcers of traffic impairment laws. Drunk driving is no accident. It is a choice. Anyone who is impaired, regardless of the reading on the breathalyzer, is a high-risk threat to every officer on patrol and every driver, every pedestrian, every life, they encounter. We know that every time you leave your home, every time you perform a traffic stop, your life is at risk. MADD supports you. MADD is here for you. MADD will fight for you and work to get the resources you need to do your jobs.

Unfortunately, we still fight misperceptions perpetuated by the alcohol industry that threaten the progress we have made toward ending this crime. Most recently, the alcohol industry funded a report released in December 2019 that calls for an emphasis on rehabilitating drunk drivers who are convicted with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 and above. The report labeled those drivers as “high risk.” Specifically, the report recommended “moving away from a conviction-centered approach” for the worst of offenders, which it called “cookie-cutter justice”, and instead dedicate resources to treatment and aftercare.

I don’t have to explain to patrol officers who work the streets and highways every day that ALL drunk drivers are high risk drunk drivers. MADD’s former National President, Jan Withers, lost her daughter, Alisa Joy, to a drunk driver with a BAC of .08.

Classifying drunk drivers as “high-risk” or “hard core” is a tired debate that was settled nearly 15 years ago. In 2006, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety issued a report, which said “… the hard-core group isn’t the whole DWI problem or even the biggest part, so it doesn’t make sense to focus too narrowly on this group. The result is to overlook a lot of other impaired drivers who escape the definition of hard core.” The December 2019 report even acknowledges that its rebranded thesis was originally argued by the alcohol industry two decades ago. We must not repeat the mistakes of the past.

America does not require definitions. We need solutions. Drunk driving is the Number 1 killer on America’s roads. We must remove the impaired driver from the road. Patrols save lives. Traffic stops save lives. DUI arrests save lives. If District Attorneys and Courts recognize drunk driving as a violent crime, then there would be no discussion about “high-risk” offenders. Arresting impaired drivers is not “cookie-cutter justice”, but rather a moral and just cause, saving innocent lives by enforcing the law to its fullest extent.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average drunk driver has driven drunk at least 80 times before they are caught. You know this, because you’ve seen it. Drunk driving killed 10,511 people in 2018, which is 29% of all traffic fatalities. Drunk driving is THE leading cause of traffic fatalities. Furthermore, a shocking number of law enforcement officers are killed by drunk drivers while performing routine traffic stops. Ask the nearly 1 million victims of drunk driving and they will tell you, a driver with .08 BAC is just as dangerous as a driver with a .15 BAC. Impairment is impairment and impairment kills.

MADD’s mission is to eliminate the 100% preventable, violent crime of drunk and drugged driving. Senseless debates over “high-risk” drunk drivers were resolved 20 years ago when America adopted .08 as its national standard.

MADD is committed to creating a nation of NO MORE VICTIMS, but we cannot do it alone. MADD, its victims, volunteers, and constituents need you. MADD can pass great laws, but without you, it is all wasted effort. Patrols prevent crimes. Patrols matter. DUI arrests matter. MADD needs you to stay vigilant and to keep the pressure on ALL drunk drivers through high-visibility enforcement and DUI checkpoints. MADD is back and MADD has your back. Now and always. Thank you for keeping our communities safe and stay safe out there

Sergeant Don Egdorf

Don is a Houston Texas police officer who specializes in drunk driving enforcement. He is a Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) and Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) instructor who travels across the country to speak about fatal crash cases, and investigative techniques he has acquired through his years of experience.

While Don was in high school, his father, who also was a law enforcement officer, was hit by a drunk driver while on duty. Don’s father survived, and the experience inspired Don to join the law enforcement community. Throughout his own career, Don has been involved in five DWI-related crashes and investigated many DWI-related, line-of-duty deaths.

Don is recognized as a National leader in sharing his passion to eliminate impaired driving.  His presentations always encourage and inspire officers to enforce impaired driving laws and educate the public concerning the dangers of this violent crime.

Don has volunteered with MADD for many years and serves on the MADD Southeast Texas Advisory Board. He resides in Houston and has two children, a son and a daughter. When not working, Don is an avid hockey fan and spends his spare time doing landscape and nature photography.

Strong drunk driving laws are key to saving lives. That is why we’re so grateful to our legislative partners who have championed MADD’s mission to end the No. 1 killer on our nation’s roads. It is why, each year, we honor lawmakers whose outstanding work has put us closer to a future of No More Victims.

MADD recently recognized five members of Congress for their lifesaving efforts, which include introducing legislation that would require alcohol detection technology in all new vehicles and a lifetime of work championing motor vehicle safety.

These are MADD’s 2019 legislative heroes in Congress:

The RIDE and HALT Acts introduced in 2019 would require alcohol detection technology in all new vehicles.

The RIDE and HALT Acts introduced in 2019 would require alcohol detection technology in all new vehicles.

Representative Debbie Dingell of Michigan introduced legislation to require drunk driving prevention technology in all new vehicles days after the Jan. 6, 2019 drunk driving crash claimed the lives of an entire Northville family. Dingell proposed a more wide-ranging measure in September. The Honoring the Abbas Family Legacy to Terminate (HALT) Drunk Driving Act requires federal regulatory action by 2024 to install drunk driving prevention technology in all new vehicles. The HALT Act is named for the five members of the Abbas family killed in this unthinkable tragedy: Issam and Rima Abbas and their three children, Ali, 13, Isabella, 12, and Giselle, 7. Thanks to Rep. Dingell’s leadership and tenacity on this issue, there is now momentum behind taking action to require life-saving systems in all vehicles.

MADD meets with Representative Nita Lowey, one of MADD's 2019 legislative champions for her work to end drunk driving.

MADD meets with Rep. Nita Lowey, a 2019 MADD legislative champion for her work to end drunk driving.

Representative Nita Lowey of New York has worked for decades to end the 100 percent preventable crime of drunk driving. Throughout her career, she has been a genuine force in this ongoing fight, including championing the successful effort to establish a national standard of .08 BAC, which has saved thousands of lives. Recently, Rep. Lowey proposed legislation to encourage more states to pass laws requiring ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenders. Thirty-four states, including New York, currently have these laws, which have prevented more than 3 million attempts to drive drunk in the last 12 years. Additionally, through her position as Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Lowey has worked to accelerate the development of in-vehicle technologies to prevent a drunk driver from operating a vehicle.

Senator Rick Scott of Florida introduced a bipartisan measure in October that could ultimately end drunk driving in America. The Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone (RIDE) Act by Sens. Scott and Tom Udall of New Mexico would require the installation of passive advanced drunk driving prevention technology in all new vehicles within four years. This technology would prevent a drunk driver from operating a vehicle and save 7,000 lives a year. Sen. Scott is also a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, which is responsible for motor vehicle and highway safety programs and legislation. He has quickly emerged as a national legislative leader in the fight to eliminate drunk driving.

MADD has recognized Rep. Jan Schakowsky for a lifetime of work to end drunk driving.

Representative Jan Schakowsky of Illinois chaired a March 2019 hearing of the Consumer Protection Subcommittee that focused on the government-auto industry research program supported primarily by government funds for more than a decade. At that hearing, MADD National President Helen Witty challenged the auto industry to move drunk driving prevention technology development out of the research labs and make it available to consumers as soon as possible, where it could save as many as 7,000 lives a year. Rep. Schakowsky is committed to motor vehicle safety and a true advocate in the fight to end drunk driving.

Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico has consistently taken a leadership role in the fight to reduce drunk driving, including leading efforts to provide funding for a research program to develop a passive system for preventing a drunk driver from operating a vehicle. Now Senator Udall is working with Senator Scott of Florida on bipartisan legislation that would take the results of that research out of the laboratory and make the technology standard equipment in all new vehicles, like many other life-saving safety systems. The Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone (RIDE) Act has the potential to save 7,000 lives a year and will add to Senator Udall’s legacy of advancing meaningful measures to save lives and prevent injuries.

In addition to the five Congressional recipients, MADD also named three governors, a lieutenant governor and 44 state lawmakers as 2019 legislative champions. Their work in state houses across America will help eliminate the senseless, preventable tragedies caused by drunk driving.




MADD extends our deepest condolences to the agencies and families who have lost officers and loved ones in the line of duty

  • Richmond Police Department (IN)Richmond Police Department (IN)
    Police Officer Kenneth Lester succumbed to injuries sustained in an automobile crash on February 17th, 1995, while responding to an alarm call. He was responding to the call with his lights... Read more »
  • White Mountain Apache Tribal Police Department (TR)White Mountain Apache Tribal Police Department (TR)
    Officer David Kellywood was shot and killed after responding to reports of shots being fired near the Hon-Dah Casino in Pinetop, Arizona, shortly before 1:00 am. Officer Kellywood was the first... Read more »
  • Canadian County Sheriff's Office (OK)Canadian County Sheriff's Office (OK)
    Lieutenant Shirley Lanning was killed in an automobile crash on the Northwest Expressway just west of the John Kilpatrick Turnpike. Her patrol car crossed the center line and collided head-on with... Read more »
  • Herriman City Police Department (UT)Herriman City Police Department (UT)
    K9 Hondo was shot and killed while attempting an apprehension of a wanted subject in the area of 445 East and 300 South in downtown Salt Lake City shortly before... Read more »
  • DeSoto Parish Sheriff's Office (LA)DeSoto Parish Sheriff's Office (LA)
    Deputy Sheriff Donna Richardson-Below was killed in a vehicle crash on U.S. Highway 84, near Louisiana 3248, shortly before 8:00 am. An oncoming vehicle crossed the center line and struck her... Read more »
  • New York City Police Department (NY)New York City Police Department (NY)
    Police Officer Matthew von Seydewitz died as the result of cancer that he developed following his assignment to the search and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center site following... Read more »
  • Florida Highway Patrol (FL)Florida Highway Patrol (FL)
    Trooper Joseph Bullock was shot and killed when he encountered a disabled vehicle on I-95 just north of the interstate rest area in Martin County. He stopped to assist what he... Read more »
  • Kimberly Police Department (AL)Kimberly Police Department (AL)
    Police Officer Nick O'Rear was shot and killed during a vehicle pursuit on I-65 near Old U.S. Highway 31 at about 10:00 pm. An officer with the Warrior Police Department had... Read more »
  • Liberty County Sheriff's Office (TX)Liberty County Sheriff's Office (TX)
    Deputy Sheriff Richard Whitten succumbed to complications of a gunshot wound sustained on May 29th, 2019, while responding to a shots fired call in Cleveland. He was en route to a... Read more »
  • Corpus Christi Police Department (TX)Corpus Christi Police Department (TX)
    Police Officer Alan McCollum was struck and killed by a drunk driver while conducting a traffic stop on Highway 358 near Carroll Lane at 9:30 pm. He and two other officers... Read more »
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For a complete listing of Officers lost in the line of duty, please visit

MADD’s 2019 Report to the Nation

Police Officer Suicide Rate More Than Double the Line of Duty Deaths in 2019

School bus impaired drivers put kids at risk

The attached article appeared recently in the USA today concerning impaired school bus drivers.

MADD National Law Enforcement Impaired Driving Summit Final Report

In November of 2018, MADD hosted a National Law Enforcement Impaired Driving Summit.  Executive level law enforcement officers attended and discussed and identified barriers to strong impaired driving enforcement.  This link will take you to the final report for the Summit which identifies those barriers and offers solutions to improve enforcement.

Study suggests marijuana may affect driving ability 12 hours after use; CDOT campaign to target users

IACP Traffic Safety Resource Guide


NHTSA Highlights Decline in Highway Crash Fatalities in the First Nine Months of 2019


NHTSA Traffic Safety Fact  – 2018 Impaired Driving Stats



MADD National Conference Save the Date