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Brief Look Into the Organization Of Mothers Against Drunk Driving

The Mothers Against Drunk Driving is an organization that has its origins in California, USA.  It was begun in 1980 by Candice Lightner, a bereaved mother of a 13-year-old girl called Cari who was killed by a drunk driver. The organization does not only advocate for stricter laws on DUI, but also assist those affected because of an accident caused by a DUI. They also support the prevention of underage drinking.

Their core principles are:

•             Help victims of accidents involving DUIs. These include the afflicted victims and their families plus helping the guilty offenders gets better and help in spreading the message of effects of drunken driving.

•             Pushing legislation on maintaining minimum drinking age of 21 and strict adherence to observing Blood Alcohol Content at below 0.08 percent

•             They also push for stronger penalties for DUI perpetrators in California

•             They are advocate for all DUI offenders’ vehicles to be fitted with Ignition Interlock Device that bases its technology on alcohol breath testing.

•             Advocate for the increase of excise tax on beer to match that of spirits.

•             Reduction in underage drinking

•             Join all states in enacting laws governing seat belts.

•             Have a devoted national traffic safety fund.

•             Revitalize court-monitoring courses to help both victims and perpetrators.

The greatest success for the organization was the implementation of the Minimum Drinking Age act in 1984. This law was passed nationally and had a great effect.  The organization continued to increase its members especially after the deadliest bus crash of 1988 that brought many parents and victims to the organization.

“Campaign to eliminate drunk driving” was launched in November 2006. This was to be MADD’s four-point plan to eradicate completely drunken driving by the use of current and new technologies. This heralded the fitting of devices like the alcohol ignition interlock gadgets on vehicles of people with a history of DUI and many other innovative inventions.

The organization however has not gone without its difficulties. The founder of the organization, Candice Lightner, left the group citing irreconcilable differences with her initial focus of the organization. In late years, there were allegations of misappropriation of funds and many other discrepancies making it rated as the one of the ten worst charity organizations in America in 2001 by worth magazine.

Despite its shortcomings, MADD has had made a big impact in America. It advocated the reduction of blood alcohol levels from 0.1 to 0.08 percent nationwide. Since its beginning, deaths due to DUI have sharply decreased to approximately 16,800 in 2005 from approximately 26,000 in 1982. It has proceeded to decrease over the years due to their constant persistent lobbying. As an advantage to MADD, the public has gained a more negative attitude towards drunk driving than the pre MADD era of the 80s.


See more on Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other organizations championing in the cause of reduced cases of DUI.