Concerned Citizens in Tennessee

Concerned CitizensWe appreciate the support of concerned citizens who share our passion to keep Tennessee roadways and communities safe! If you are concerned about a situation involving drunk or drugged driving or underage drinking, we have several resources and suggestions that can show you how you can make a difference!

In addition to information for Concerned Citizens found on our MADD National website, below you will find more information and resources specific to Tennessee:

I believe a bar/restaurant/store in town is serving underage customers.

Federal law prohibits the sale and consumption of alcohol for anyone under 21.  If you have reason to believe that a bar, restaurant, or store in your community is in violation of this law, you can contact the Tennessee Alcohol and Beverage Commission at www.tn.gov/abc to report your suspicions.  At their website, you’ll find phone numbers for each regional office listed under the “Contact Us” page or you can go to the “Public Information and Forms” page to complete “Form AB0095 – Complaint Against Licensee” found under “Other Forms.”  Complaints can be made anonymously, if preferred.

I believe a bar/restaurant in town is over-serving customers and/or is a public nuisance.

Bars can be held liable for serving “obviously intoxicated” individuals.  They are also not allowed to serve alcohol after 3am in Tennessee.  If you have reason to believe that a bar or restaurant is violating these regulations, you can contact the Tennessee Alcohol and Beverage Commission at www.tn.gov/abc to report your suspicions.  At their website, you’ll find phone numbers for each regional office listed under the “Contact Us” page or you can go to the “Public Information and Forms” page to complete “Form AB0095 – Complaint Against Licensee” found under “Other Forms.”  The form also allows for complaints for a variety of other items such as illegal drug activities, lewd conduct, prostitution, and excessive noise.  Complaints can be made anonymously if preferred.

I am concerned that my child/grandchild may be riding with a parent/caregiver who is an impaired driver.

MADD believes that every child deserves a designated driver!  If you are concerned about the safety of a child you love, you can email us at tn.state@madd.org to request information on Child Endangerment and tips about what you can do to keep your loved ones safe.

I don’t believe the laws in our state are doing enough to keep drunk and drugged drivers off Tennessee Roadways and/or to ensure that offenders are accountable for their actions.

MADD believes that driving is a privelage and not a right.  While we are not opposed to the legal consumption of alcohol for those 21 and over, we do believe that if one chooses to drink, one should not choose to drive.  We work diligently with lawmakers and law enforcement to ensure that laws are in place to support this premise, that those laws are being upheld and enforced as they were written and intended, and that offenders are given proper sentencing in accordance with those laws.  MADD and our partners are continually seeking to improve Tennessee’s DUI legislation and address new needs as they arise.  If you are concerned about the effectiveness of DUI laws in Tennessee, we encourage you to get involved.  Subscribe to MADD’s local monthly enewsletter which will notify you when MADD is working on new legislation in our state so that you can lend your voice to support it with your local legislators.   You can also follow DUI bills as they work their way through Capitol Hill by tracking any legislation relating to your chosen topic, i.e. DUI Offenses.

I am concerned about a friend/family member whom I believe has a problem with drinking and driving or drugged driving.  What can I do?

MADD understands that impaired driving is a community problem.  Not only does it put innocent people at risk, but it also puts the impaired driver at risk.  It is not uncommon for loved ones of habitual impaired drivers to feel a sense of helplessness and real concern that their loved one might hurt or kill themselves or have to live with the consequences of taking another innocent life.

MADD recommends that the first step is talking to the person in question.  Let them know your concerns and offer suggestions for safer alternatives such as drinking at home or at a friend’s house where travel will not be necessary.  For those who want to include alcohol in their plans to go out, MADD always recommends to have a plan in place BEFORE the night begins.  You will often hear people say, “If I drink too much, I will call a cab.”  But the problem in that logic, is that once drinking begins, judgement is impaired.  The person is no longer capable of determining if he/she is able to safely drive.  The best plan is to designate a non-drinking driver BEFORE you go out or to make plans for an alternative way home, such as a cab or ride-sharing service like Uber.

If after talking to your loved one, he/she continues to make unsafe choices regarding driving while impaired, there are more drastic steps that can be taken:

  1. Give a detailed description of what you may have observed the driver ingest to cause impairment (i.e. # of drinks, type of drinks, time frame they were consumed, type of drug or medication, was it combined with any amount of alcohol?, etc.)
  2. Tell them any behaviors you observed that indicate the driver is impaired (stumbled to the car, dropped keys three times, bloodshot eyes, slurring speech, hit the curb as pulled out, etc.)
  3. Give a good description of the vehicle including the make, model, color, and license plate, if possible.
  4. Provide any information you can about where the driver was going (to the liquor store, to a friend’s house and give address, heading north on Smith Street, etc.)

These steps may seem severe, but it is important to remember just how dangerous this person’s behavior is and that your actions are out of concern for his/her welfare.

Finally, many friends and family members worry that their loved ones’ continued habit of impaired driving is tied to the additional problem of addiction.  There are many resources available in Tennessee to families who need help with loved ones suffering from addiction.  Al-Anon is a nationwide organization to provide such help.  Local meetings are available as well as online resources.  TN Red Line provides a 24/7 hotline to call for additional help in finding resources in Tennessee related to addiction problems.