Mothers Against Drunk Driving
|Mothers Against Drunk Driving|
|Formation||May 7, 1980|
|Headquarters||Irving, Texas, U.S.|
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is a nonprofit organization in the United States that seeks to stop drunk driving, support those affected by drunk driving, prevent underage drinking, and overall push for stricter alcohol policy. The Irving, Texas–based organization was founded in 1980 in California by Candice Lightner after her 13-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver.
"The mission of Mothers Against Drunk Driving is to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime and prevent underage drinking."
Generally MADD favors:
- Education (about the dangers of drunk driving), advocacy and victim assistance
- Strict policy in a variety of areas, including an illegal blood alcohol content of .08% or lower and using stronger sanctions for DUI offenders, including mandatory jail sentences, treatment for alcoholism and other alcohol abuse issues, ignition interlock devices, and license suspensions
- Helping victims of drunk driving (this includes family members and other loved ones of both innocent victims and guilty impaired drivers)
- Maintaining the minimum legal drinking age at 21 years
- Mandating alcohol breath-testing ignition interlock devices (IIDs) for everyone convicted of driving while legally impaired
Shift from reducing DUI to reducing alcohol use
Lightner had left the group in 1985. In 2002, Lightner stated that MADD "has become far more neo-prohibitionist than I had ever wanted or envisioned … I didn't start MADD to deal with alcohol. I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving".
Candice (Candy) Lightner is the organizer and was the founding president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. On May 3, 1980 Lightner’s 13-year-old daughter, Cari, was killed by a drunken hit-and-run driver at Sunset and New York Avenues in Fair Oaks, California. The 46-year-old driver, who had recently been arrested for another DUI hit-and-run, left her body at the scene.
A 1983 television movie about Lightner resulted in publicity for the group, which grew rapidly.
In the early 1980s, the group attracted the attention of the United States Congress. Frank R. Lautenberg, a New Jersey Senator, did not like the fact that youth in New Jersey could easily travel into New York to purchase alcoholic beverages, thereby circumventing New Jersey's law restricting consumption to those 21 years old and over. The group had its greatest success with the imposition of a 1984 federal law, the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, that introduced a federal penalty (a 5%–later raised to 10%–loss of federal highway dollars), for states that didn't raise to 21 the minimum legal age for the purchase and possession of alcohol. After the United States Supreme Court upheld the law in the 1987 case of South Dakota v. Dole, every state and the District of Columbia capitulated by 1988 (but not the territories of Puerto Rico and Guam).
In 1985, Lightner objected to the shifting focus of MADD, and left her position with the organization.
In 1988, a drunk driver traveling the wrong way on Interstate 71 in Kentucky caused a head-on collision with a school bus. Twenty seven people died and dozens more were injured in the ensuing fire. The Carrollton bus disaster in 1988 equaled another bus crash in Kentucky in 1958 as the deadliest bus crash in U.S. history. In the aftermath, several parents of the victims became actively involved in MADD, and one became its national president.
In 1994, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, an industry publication, released the results of the largest study of charitable and non-profit organization popularity and credibility. The study showed that MADD was ranked as the "most popular charity/non-profit in America of over 100 charities researched with 51% of Americans over the age of 12 choosing Love and Like A lot for MADD.
In 1991, MADD released its first "Rating the States" report, grading the states in their progress against drunk driving. "Rating the States" has been released four times since then.
In 1999, MADD’s National Board of Directors unanimously voted to change the organization’s mission statement to include the prevention of underage drinking.
In 2002, MADD announced an "Eight-Point Plan". This comprised:
- Resuscitate the nation's efforts to prevent impaired driving.
- Increase driving while intoxicated (DWI)/driving under the influence (DUI) enforcement, especially the use of frequent, highly publicized sobriety checkpoints.
- Enact primary enforcement seat belt laws in all states.
- Create tougher, more comprehensive sanctions geared toward higher-risk drivers.
- Develop a dedicated National Traffic Safety Fund.
- Reduce underage drinking.
- Increase beer excise taxes to the same level as those for spirits.
- Reinvigorate court monitoring programs.
In a November 2006 press release, MADD launched its 'Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving': this is a four-point plan to completely eliminate drunk driving in the United States using a combination of current technology (such as alcohol ignition interlock devices), new technology in smart cars, law enforcement, and grass roots activism.
Chuck Hurley was MADD CEO from 2005-2010. He retired in June 2010 and was replaced by Kimberly Earle, who had been CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure since 2007. Earle left to work for Sanford Health in January 2012. Debbie Weir was named MADD's new Chief Executive Officer.
According to Obama-Coburn Federal Funding Accountability Transparency Act of 2006, MADD received $56,814 in funds from the federal government in fiscal year 2000, and a total of $9,593,455 between fiscal years 2001 and 2006.
2001, Worth magazine listed MADD as one of its "10 worst charities".
In 2005, USA Today reported that the American Institute of Philanthropy was reducing MADD from a "C" to a "D" in its ratings. The Institute noted that MADD categorizes much of its fundraising expenses as "educational expenses", and that up to 58% of its revenue was expended on what the Institute considered fund-raising and management.
Charity Navigator rated MADD at 36.72 on its charity rating scale for the 2006/2007 fiscal year, based on it efficiency and capacity. MADD reported that it spent 16% of its budget on fundraising that year. Charity Navigator reported MADD's total revenue for the year as $49 million (US).
In 2009 MADD took in $41,006,038 and paid salaries of $20,537,936, over half of their income.
Activities and criticism
Radley Balko argued in a December 2002 article that MADD's policies are becoming overbearing. "In fairness, MADD deserves credit for raising awareness of the dangers of driving while intoxicated. It was almost certainly MADD's dogged efforts to spark public debate that effected the drop in fatalities since 1980, when Candy Lightner founded the group after her daughter was killed by a drunk driver," Balko wrote. "But MADD is at heart a bureaucracy, a big one. It boasts an annual budget of $45 million, $12 million of which pays for salaries, pensions and benefits. Bureaucracies don't change easily, even when the problems they were created to address change." Charity Watch gives MADD an "C-" grade.
Drunk driving laws
MADD was heavily involved in lobbying to reduce the legal limit for blood alcohol from BAC .10 to BAC .08. In 2000, this standard was passed by Congress and by 2005, every state had an illegal .08 BAC limit. MADD Canada has called for a maximum legal BAC of .05. Although many MADD leaders have supported a lower limit, MADD has not called for a legal limit of .05 in the United States.
Victim impact panels
MADD promotes the use of victim impact panels (VIPs), in which judges require DWI offenders to hear victims or relatives of victims of drunk driving crashes relate their experiences. MADD received $5,547,693 in 2010 from VIPs; much of this income was voluntary donations by those attending as some states, such as California, do not allow a fee to be charged to offenders for non-legislative programs. Other states like Georgia require that a fee be paid in order to attend, in Georgia this fee is $50. Some states in the United States, such as Massachusetts, permit victims of all crimes, including drunk driving accidents, to give "victim impact statements" prior to sentencing so that judges and prosecutors can consider the impact on victims in deciding on an appropriate sentence to recommend or impose. The presentations are often emotional, detailed, and graphic, and focus on the tragic negative consequences of DWI and alcohol-related crashes. According to the John Howard Society, some studies have shown that permitting victims to make statements and to give testimony is psychologically beneficial to them and aids in their recovery and in their satisfaction with the criminal justice system. A New Mexico study suggested that the VIPs tended to be perceived as confrontational by multiple offenders. Such offenders then had a higher incidence of future offenses.
Grand Theft Auto
On April 29, 2008 MADD issued a press release criticizing the video game Grand Theft Auto IV saying it was "extremely disappointed" with the manufacturers. MADD has called on the ESRB to re-rate the game to Adults Only. They also called on the manufacturer (Rockstar) "to consider a stop in distribution – if not out of responsibility to society then out of respect for the millions of victims/survivors of drunk driving.". Players can drive drunk in Grand Theft Auto IV but doing so makes it harder to drive. The game also explicitly recommends that the player take a taxi instead of driving, and the character makes humorous remarks suggesting that it is bad to drive drunk. Ignoring these will lead to consequences: if any police officer is around while the player is drunk driving, the player immediately becomes wanted by the police.
Blood alcohol content
Prior to the MADD's influence, drunk driving laws addressed the danger by making it a criminal offense to drive a vehicle while impaired — that is, while "under the influence of alcohol"; the amount of alcohol in the body was evidence of that impairment. The level specified at that time was so high (commonly .15%) that it was not impairment, but drunkenness. In part due to MADD's influence, all 50 states have now passed laws making it a criminal offense to drive with a designated level of alcohol of .08% or higher., based on the presumption that all persons are impaired at the level specified.
MADD writes that “opponents of sobriety checkpoints tend to be those who drink and drive frequently and are concerned about being caught”.
Radley Balko, a writer for Reason Magazine, discusses the possible social implications of some of MADD's policies in a 2002 article. He writes, "In its eight-point plan to 'jump-start the stalled war on drunk driving,' MADD advocates the use of highly publicized but random roadblocks to find drivers who have been drinking.".
Balko criticizes MADD for not advocating higher excise taxes on distilled spirits, even though it campaigns for higher excise taxes for beer. He writes, "Interestingly, MADD refrains from calling for an added tax on distilled spirits, an industry that the organization has partnered with on various drunk driving awareness projects." MADD writes, "Currently, the federal excise tax is $.05 per can of beer, $.04 for a glass of wine and $.12 for a shot of distilled spirits, which all contain about the same amount of alcohol."[dead link] Point 7 of MADD's 8-Point Plan is to "Increase beer excise taxes to equal the current excise tax on distilled spirits".
Breath alcohol ignition interlock devices
Additionally, MADD has proposed that breath alcohol ignition interlock devices should be installed in all new cars. Tom Incantalupo wrote: "Ultimately, the group said yesterday, it wants so-called alcohol interlock devices factory-installed in all new cars. "The main reason why people continue to drive drunk today is because they can," MADD president Glynn Birch said at a news teleconference from Washington, D.C."
Sarah Longwell, a spokeswoman for the American Beverage Institute, responded to MADD's desire to legislate breathalyzers into every vehicle in America by stating "This interlock campaign is not about eliminating drunk driving, it is about eliminating all moderate drinking prior to driving. The 40 million Americans who drink and drive responsibly should be outraged." She also points out that "Many states have laws that set the presumptive level of intoxication at .05% and you can't adjust your interlock depending on which state you're driving in. Moreover, once you factor in liability issues and sharing vehicles with underage drivers you have pushed the preset limit down to about .02%. It will be a de facto zero tolerance policy."
Some point out that the policy assumes that citizens are guilty of drunkenness and requires them to prove themselves innocent not only before they drive but repeatedly while they drive.
A review of devices concluded, "The results of the study show that interlock works for some offenders in some contexts, but not for all offenders in all situations. More specifically, ignition interlock devices work best when they are installed, although there is also some evidence that judicial orders to install an interlock are effective for repeat DUI offenders, even when not all offenders comply and install a device. California's administrative program, where repeat DUI offenders install an interlock device in order to obtain restricted driving privileges, is also associated with reductions in subsequent DUI incidents. One group for whom ignition interlock orders do not appear effective is first DUI offenders with high blood alcohol levels."
- Alcoholics Anonymous
- Amethyst Initiative
- Choose Responsibility
- Driving under the influence
- Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere
- Friedrich, Otto (1985-01-07). "Man of the Year 1985". Time. Retrieved 2009-08-09.
- "History of the Mission Statement".
- "MADD laws page". Madd.org. 2000-01-01. Retrieved 2009-08-09.[dead link]
- Ignition Interlock - Issue Brief from the MADD website
- Bresnahan, S. MADD struggles to remain relevant. Washington Times Metropolitan edition), August 6, 2002, B1-2
- "21" turns 20, MADD Online; published in DRIVEN magazine, Spring 2004
- Learn More from the MADD Canada website
- The Charities Americans Like Most And Least, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, December 13, 1996
- Why has MADD changed its mission statement? from the MADD website
- Getting MADD All Over Again: 8-Point Plan to Jump Start War on Drunk Driving archived press release from MADD.org
- MADD Announces National Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving MADD Online Press Release; November 20, 2006
- "Road safety pioneer Chuck Hurley "will always be a part of MADD"". Fast Lane. U.S. Department of Transportation. 23 June 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
- Pearson-Hormillosa, Shashana (26 April 2010). "MADD names former Komen executive CEO". Dallas Business Journal. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
- "Kimberly Earle to Lead the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation". PRWeb. 24 January 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
- Federal Assistance for Nonprofits in Irving, Texas from 2001- 2006 from usaspending.gov
- MADD Website
- Jayne O'Donnell MADD enters 25th year with change on its mind
- "Targeting the Social Drinker Is Just MADD," Balko, Radley (from the CATO Institute website)
- Charity Rating Guide and Watchdog Report, Volume Number 59, December 2011
- "Stricter blood alcohol limit for drivers: doctors, MADD". CBC News. November 27, 2001.
- Victim Impact Statements—John Howard Society of Alberta[dead link], 1997
- "A Randomized Trial of Victim Impact Panels’ DWI Deterrence Effectiveness," W. G. Woodall, H. Delaney, E. Rogers, & D. R. Wheeler; Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions (CASAA), University of New Mexico
- Grand Theft Auto IV preview-splosion! - Joystiq
- Sobriety Checkpoints: Facts & Myths from MADD's website
- New 8-Point Plan To Jumpstart Stalled War On Drunk Driving from MADD's website
- "MADD: Device Key to Keep Drinkers off Road", Newsday, November 21, 2006
- Drunk Until Proven Innocent from The Harvard Crimson
- California Department of Motor Vehicles An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Ignition Interlock in California