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How Mothers Against Drunk Driving Make a Real Difference

Founded in 1980 by Candace Lightner after her thirteen-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) has played a major role in the reduction of drunk driving fatalities. In the year it started, more people died in drunk driving accidents than in war, but today that number has been cut by 53%. This organization has made a real difference by focusing on the following areas.

Drunk Driving Laws

MADD has expended considerable effort in changing drunk driving laws. They have successfully lobbied both the US Congress and every state in the country to reduce blood alcohol limits from 0.1% (or higher) to at least 0.08%. Studies have shown that this has significantly reduced drunk-driving fatalities. 

Victim Impact Panels

MADD has pushed for the use of victim Impact panels in the court system, where those convicted of drunk driving offenses must listen to the experiences of drunk driving victims and their families. This has resulted in fewer rearrests for drunk driving offenders and have been a positive impact in the court systems.

Sobriety Checkpoints

MADD has strongly advocated for sobriety checkpoints, not only to catch drunk drivers before they can hurt someone, but also to dissuade drivers from getting drunk. Studies have shown that the use of the use of these checkpoints have reduced alcohol-related crashes by as much as 20%.

Alcohol Taxes

MADD has supported increasing alcohol taxes as a means of reducing alcohol consumption. Studies have suggested that these laws have modestly reduced drunk driving.

Ignition Interlock Devices

An ignition interlock device acts as breathalyzer, preventing those who are alcohol impaired from driving. MADD has convinced more than 30 states to create laws that require the installation of these devices for those convicted of a drunk driving offense. Studies have shown that these devices significantly reduce recidivism among drunk driving offenders.

Educational and Support Programs

MADD has long offered educational programs as a means of reducing drunk driving, by informing people of the dangers. These programs are especially aimed at young people. They have also been tireless in their support of drunk-driving victims.

For nearly 40 years MADD has been on the forefront of reducing alcohol-related driving fatalities. They’ve successfully fought for groundbreaking legislation that has brought real change.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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