What you do matters.
No matter what your profession, hearing these words is important. So when the Lifesavers Conference we recently attended started with these words, we knew it was going to be impactful. Even if that was the most important thing we took away from it, what we do matters. The MADD mission matters.
The conference focuses on highway safety priorities and the road to zero fatalities on our nation’s roads. By bringing together highway safety professionals from across the board together to learn and share ideas we take steps closer to that ultimate goal of zero. There are workshop sessions focusing on everything from impaired driving to school bus transportation because we know that every aspect of road safety must be looked at if we are going to have a future with no more road deaths. As MADD staff we spent our time at the conference focusing on the areas that connect with our mission, impaired driving, criminal justice and creative communication to increase awareness.
While it is far too much information to go into, we wanted to share a few of the highlights from the conference with you.
- Re-connecting with old friends. While in the San Antonio area we had the opportunity to connect with past volunteers Dana McCown and Dawn Tanner, as well as current volunteer Russ Zeeb. Enjoying a great dinner with people who we miss so much was amazing.
- The Road to Zero. MADD has focused our mission on a future of No More Victims for a while now. The Road to Zero is focused on not just ending impaired driving deaths on our roads, but all deaths. While this goal may seem ambitious we know it is possible. Just as we know we will create a future with No More Victims, we know we will have a future with zero deaths. They are goals that are achievable with things such as technology, access to care and increased efforts in education and enforcement.
- Keep Talking. We must keep people thinking about our mission and our goals for a future with no more impaired driving deaths. The message must be consistent and constant. We spent time learning about creative campaigns other states are using to raise awareness of the dangers of impaired driving and how to handle messaging when it comes to new challenges such as legalized marijuana. We heard about adapting our campaigns to ensure the message is right for the population you are speaking to.
- The Landscape is Every-Changing. Especially when it comes to drug-impaired driving. Learning just a fraction of what Law Enforcement deals with on a daily basis was incredible. The new drugs, the new slang, the new ways to hide drug use in plain sight. It is scary. We know our law enforcement personnel do an amazing job of staying up to date on these things. By learning more we can help support them better and work to educate the public erasing misconceptions about the danger of drug-impaired driving.
- The Power of Community. Underage drinking is still an issue. We know the Power of Parents and how their influence works to influence teen decision making. But, it can’t end there. We need the power of community to end impaired driving. We are learning that school connections, positive teacher influence, and team involvement all create students who are less likely to drink and drive. We need to change the idea that it is a right of passage and help students to know that it is important to wait until they are 21 to drink and to never ride with a drinking driver.
All of these things and so many more tied back to the idea that what we do matters. The work MADD volunteers, victim families and staff are all doing together is working and is vital to creating a future with zero road deaths. The MADD Staff is very grateful for the opportunity to attend this conference, to spend time away from our office, with experts and peers, learning so much. We also loved getting to know San Antonio, with evenings free we had the chance to experience the amazing riverwalk, the Alamo and the Fiesta River Parade. You may already know that we are a tight-knit staff here at MADD Nebraska so spending a few days together was a great chance to enjoy time together and re-charge our passion for the mission. We can’t wait to put into action some of the amazing things we learned. Until then, we hope you take away with us, that what you do matters.