What is MADD?
In 1980, Candy Lightner founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The effort for this program was made after Lightner lost her daughter to a drunk driver who had been a repeated offender. Her goal for MADD is to reduce as many drunk driving fatalities as possible.
Lightner has found much success through MADD. Since 1980, she has not only educated the public on the very real dangers of drunk driving, but also has substantially reduced the rate of drunk driving fatalities. MADD’s effort in raising awareness and taking action is something worthy of much recognition.
When MADD was founded in 1980, the number of drunk driving fatalities totaled about 25,000 annually. Since then, MADD has successfully reduced that number to more than half. In 2017, Arizona averaged 232 drunk driving deaths and was ranked 9th in the country for drunk driving fatalities. With that, 24% of all traffic fatalities in Arizona were a direct result of drunk driving.
Throughout the years, these efforts were made primarily towards those who operated a motor vehicle while heavily intoxicated. MADD considered the driver to be heavily intoxicated if the driver was found to have a blood alcohol concentration above 0.15%, or an “extreme DUI” in the state of Arizona. It’s statistically more likely that an intoxicated driver who has a 0.15% BAC level or higher will find themselves in a fatal accident, however MADD’s current efforts have also included those who have a BAC level of 0.01%-0.08%, or “buzzed driving”.
For a time, MADD’s primary focus was not on social drinkers who drove with a low blood alcohol concentration. Because of the much lower fatality rate than with those with a BAC higher than 0.15%, MADD’s efforts were steered more towards educating the public about the dangers of heavily drinking and driving. However, in more recent years, MADD has put forth much more efforts to eliminate any driver on the road who has had anything to drink.
It’s vital to remember the true roots of MADD for the dilemmas that created the organization are still prominent in our society today. Even though we can thank MADD for their efforts and success in diminishing many drunk driving fatalities, we cannot ignore the fact that there’s still much work to be done. With that in mind, there are actions we can take ourselves to make our streets a safer place to drive.
Vocalizing the importance of more sobriety checkpoints is just one, along with higher law enforcement visibility on the roads. Deterring those from drunk driving with a more prominent police presence can help tremendously, however, we as a society are also responsible to educate those around us about the issue. The proper education with the right message could be the difference between life and death in our future generations.
Depending on your perspective, the way in which to go about this education will vary. Some will find themselves easing it into a light-hearted conversation. Others may take their attempts at a scare tactic.
If you are looking for professional education or need assistance with alcohol and/or substance use issues, Stonewall Institute is here to help. Please, give us a call 602-535-6468 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about MADD or to get involved in the efforts to eliminate drunk driving, please visit MADD today.