The History Of Madd

Drunk driving is a subject that most of us would prefer not to talk about. It’s certainly not pleasant. Yet the more that we avoid the topic, the more likely drunk drivers are to continue their egregious behavior. If we don’t speak openly about drunk driving, the deadly “habit” may go unchecked—your friends, your family members, or even you may be at risk for driving over the limit.
It’s precisely for this reason that an organization like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) exists.
MADD has been fighting to raise awareness for the victims of drunk driving since 1980; sadly, the dangerous act of drunk driving has been around far longer.

According to MADD statistics

MADD’s work is far from done as long as there are still dangerous drunk drivers on the road.

MADD provides “sobering” statistics on the present dangers of drunk driving

28 people die each day in the US in a DUI accident. A person is injured in a DUI accident almost every 90 seconds. The average drunk driver drives intoxicated roughly 80 times before their first DUI arrest.
In 2012, one person died in a drunk driving accident every 51 minutes. 226 children were killed in DUI accidents in 2011 54% of children were riding with a drunk driver.

1 in 3

One in three people will be involved in a DUI accident in their lifetime. Drunk driving rates are the highest among 21 to 25-year-olds at 23.4%.
  • Drunk driving is more likely to occur at night than in the daytime, at 36% versus 8%.
  • 50-75% of convicted drunk drivers will continue to drive on a suspended license.
  • DUIs cost the United States $132 billion a year.
This is why MADD continues to fight to reinforce the legal drinking age of 21. Age 21 currently remains the minimum legal drinking age in the US and has saved an estimated 25,000 lives as a result. Directly related to the enforcement of this law, DUI crashes have decreased by roughly 16% among the underage group. Minimum legal drinking age serves a purpose to protect both personal and public safety. Though many teens begin to drive at the age of 16, they are not yet experienced as drivers or experienced with alcohol. Research confirms that teenagers get drunk twice as fast as adults, and they often lack the impulse control needed to regulate their alcohol intake. MADD supports the legal drinking age of 21 to reduce DUI accidents, protect the maturing brains of teenagers, and improve safety among minors.

Drunk driving risk is prevalent across the US, though penalties may vary by state.

MADD provides a complete database of state-by-state DUI legislation through the use of an interactive map. States are rated based on DUI enforcement and harshness of conviction penalties. Colorado, for example, is rated a five-star state by MADD; Colorado law enforcement regularly conducts sobriety checkpoints, highly incentivizes ignition interlock use for DUI offenders, increases penalties for DUI child endangerment, utilizes administrative license revocation for drunk drivers, and participates in DUI no-refusal events. In contrast, MADD rates Minnesota as a two-star state with legislation only supporting DUI child endangerment and administrative license revocation.
MADD has been fighting tooth and nail to raise DUI awareness since 1980, when the organization was founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver. MADD is currently the largest nonprofit organization working to protect families against drunk driving in the nation. MADD continues to support drunk/drugged driving victims and families free of charge through local chapters and a national helpline (1-877-MADD-HELP).
After 32 years of eliciting positive change and reducing DUI deaths country-wide, MADD continues to stand by its revised mission statement to
“stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime and prevent underage drinking.”
Here is the complete history and timeline of Mothers Against Drunk Driving:
13-year-old Cari Lightner, daughter of MADD founder, was killed by a drunk driver in California walking to a church carnival. The driver who killed Cari was later arrested; police discovered that he had a history of drunk driving and had been arrested for a similar hit-and-run DUI accident just a week prior. When Cari’s mother Candy Lightner learned that drunk driving offenders were rarely prosecuted effectively, she decided to take action. Candy started the nonprofit Mothers Against Drunk Drivers to honor her deceased daughter, raise awareness, and increase DUI penalties.
  • Lightner served on the National Commission on Drunk Driving, per the request of President Reagan; the Commission recommended raising the minimum drinking age to 21, as well as revoking the driver’s licenses of drunk drivers who had been arrested.
  • Lightner stood next to President Reagan when he signed a law to cut federal highway grants for any state that didn’t increase its legal drinking age to 21.
  • MADD officially changed its name from Mothers Against Drunk Drivers to Mothers Against Drunk Driving to target the act and not the individual.
Lightner lobbied the California governor to create a state task force against drunk driving; California passed a new law requiring minimum fines of $375 for first offender drunk drivers with mandatory prison time of up to four years for repeat offenders. MADD gained publicity in a 1983 NBC TV movie made about Lightner’s story. 129 new anti-DUI laws were passed by the end of the year. Thanks to Lightner’s hard work on the Commission, all 50 states revised their DUI laws to include more stringent penalties. By that time, MADD as an organization had expanded to over 320 chapters with 600,000 volunteers and donors. In 1985, Lightner left the organization after disagreeing with the changing focus of MADD.
MADD established the Victim Assistance Institutes.
A drunk driver drove the wrong way on Interstate 71 in Kentucky and collided head-on with a school bus. The DUI accident killed 27 people and injured more as the bus caught on fire. The horrific accident was considered the “nation’s worst alcohol-related crash.” One of the victim’s parents later became MADD’s national president. Within the year, all states and Washington DC passed the federal drinking age law at age 21.
MADD launched the Victim Impact Panel program. The MADD Canada chapter was founded. With support from the MADD amicus brief, the US Supreme Court declared sobriety checkpoints constitutional.
  • MADD launched its official website at www.madd.org.
  • The Federal Zero Tolerance Law was passed by Congress; Zero Tolerance legislation was passed in all states by 1998.
  • MADD was ranked as the most popular nonprofit/charity in the US out of the top 100 charities in Chronicle of Philanthropy magazine. Within the year, alcohol-related deaths dropped to an all-time low over the past 30 years.
  • MADD was ranked as the most popular nonprofit/charity in the US out of the top 100 charities in Chronicle of Philanthropy magazine. Within the year, alcohol-related deaths dropped to an all-time low over the past 30 years.
  • The Federal Zero Tolerance Law was passed by Congress; Zero Tolerance legislation was passed in all states by 1998.
  • MADD launched its official website at www.madd.org.
MADD branched out in its work to campaign against underage drinking and support research about the effects of alcohol use among minors. MADD updated its mission statement to encompass underage drinking:“The mission of Mothers Against Drunk Driving is to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime and prevent underage drinking.”

MADD introduced its Eight-Point Plan

  • To spur on national efforts to prevent drunk driving
  • Increase DWI/DUI enforcement
  • Require primary enforcement seatbelt laws in each state
  • Enact tougher penalties/ sanctions for high-risk drivers
  • Create a dedicated National Traffic Safety Fund
  • Cut down on underage drinking, raise beer excise taxes to equal spirit taxes
  • Revive court monitoring programs
MADD spurred forth major change when President Clinton passed a law that linked federal highway funds to a state’s participation in the 0.08 standard of legal blood alcohol content (BAC) in order to drive. MADD had been faithfully campaigning to reduce the national BAC from 0.10 to 0.08. As MADD celebrated its 20th anniversary, DUI fatalities had been reduced by more than 40% since 1980.
MADD was named one of the 100 Best Charities in America by Worth magazine
Glynn Birch was named MADD’s first male national president. MADD launched its 24-hour victim helpline at 1-877-MADD-HELP.
  • MADD supported stringent New Jersey legislation passed to require ignition interlock devices for all convicted drunk drivers, even first-time offenders. Similar legislation was passed in 22 other states.
  • MADD was rated at 39.08 out of 70 by the Charity Navigator rating scale.
  • MADD came out publicly against the videogame Grand Theft Auto IV, where players were allowed to drive drunk with the potential for police arrest.
  • MADD came out publicly against the videogame Grand Theft Auto IV, where players were allowed to drive drunk with the potential for police arrest.
  • MADD was rated at 39.08 out of 70 by the Charity Navigator rating scale.
  • MADD supported stringent New Jersey legislation passed to require ignition interlock devices for all convicted drunk drivers, even first-time offenders. Similar legislation was passed in 22 other states.

MADD proudly fights for their cause because of the real people who have been affected by drunk drivers.

On their official website, MADD displays heart-wrenching Voices of Victims stories to put a face to the crime of drunk driving.
Stories like 18-year-old college student Laura Gorman’s remind us how effortlessly a DUI accident can happen. In 2006, Laura was a college freshman riding with a friend. She was a passenger with a driver who had been drinking; the driver veered off the highway and hit a tree. Laura died at the scene of the accident just miles from her dorm room. The driver had a BAC of 0.12 three hours after the accident and was sentenced to four years in prison.
Jaime Maier was another beautiful young teenager, age 16, killed in 2002 when a drunk driver barreled into her as she was backing out of a friend’s driveway. The drunk driver was driving over 100 mph in a 30 mph zone with a BAC of 0.12. Jamie and her friend riding as a passenger were killed instantly.
To prevent horrific stories like Laura’s and Jamie’s from repeating themselves, you can do your part to put an end to drunk driving and raise awareness. MADD is currently campaigning to require ignition interlock devices on the vehicles of all drunk drivers; a convicted DUI offender must blow into the device to prove sobriety in order to start their car.

If you want to support this life-saving legislation, you can send an email to your representative via the MADD website.

It is also critically important to recognize the signs of a drunk driver on the road so that you can steer clear and contact the police. Look for intoxicated motorists according to these MADD guidelines:

  • Quick acceleration/ deceleration
  • Tailgating, weaving, or zigzagging in traffic
  • Driving off designated roadways
  • Almost striking an object/vehicle
  • Erratic braking/ stopping
  • Drifting lanes
  • Driving with headlights off at night
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road

the estimated cost of a DUItruththeory.com

Just as importantly, how do you know when it is safe to drive after you or a friend has been drinking?

In most cases, it may be safe to drive after up to two alcoholic beverages, whether you are a man or a woman. However, many sources recommend never driving after drinking as alcohol can affect judgment. BAC level depends on a number of factors, including gender, weight, rate of consumption, drink strength, body type, metabolism, medication use, food intake, carbonation, and alcohol tolerance. For light drinking purposes, a smartphone app or BAC calculator can be used to estimate safe blood alcohol levels.

You can prevent drinking and driving among friends and family with five helpful tips:

  • Always choose a designated driver, call a taxi, or take public transportation for a night out.
  • Hide keys if a friend has consumed too much alcohol to drive.
  • Offer non-alcoholic beverages at the end of the night when throwing a party.
  • Arrange for alternate transportation for guests when drinking at home.
  • Suggest alternate transportation or ask a friend to sleep over in a non-confrontational manner when they appear too drunk to drive.
DUI awareness starts from the ground up. You can do your part to watch for drunk drivers on the road, commit to never drink and drive after a night out, and encourage friends and family to call a cab instead of driving intoxicated.

You can make a difference and fight drunk driving at the national level with these anti-DUI guidelines from MADD:

  • Email your legislators about drunk driving campaigns and issues.
  • Sign up for email alerts about DUI campaigns/ legislation.
  • Report any drunk driver you encounter on the road.
  • Volunteer at local MADD chapters.
  • Support the MADD cause with donations.