Founded in 1980 by a heartbroken mother who had just lost her beloved 13-year-old daughter to a drunk driving accident, Mothers Against Drunk Driving grew into an unstoppable force that has been credited with saving more than 300,000 lives since its inception. Alcohol related deaths in the United States at the organization’s founding numbered over 30,000. With MADD’s unrelenting fight and ultimate success in influencing lawmakers to implement laws to raise the legal drinking age and reduce the legal blood alcohol content from .1 to .08, that number was down to 16,572!
Prior to 1980, having a few drinks and then driving home was something few people gave much thought to—a part of American life and culture. The mothers who formed MADD changed all that by letting the country know the truth—that drinking and driving is not a harmless way to socialize with friends, but a death sentence to the victims of the crashes that so often deprive innocent people of their lives and families of those whom they love. MADD put a face and a name to the devastation caused by drunk drivers and made it nearly impossible for social drinkers to remain in denial.
Today, “designated driver” is a household word. The legal drinking age has been raised to 21 in all 50 states, and although underage drinking continues, families are more likely to take steps to educate their teens about drinking and to provide them with alternative transportation if they do choose to violate the law. These are only a few of the accomplishments of an organization that began in the bedroom of a child who would never live to achieve her dreams.
Today, Mothers Against Drunk Driving has the highest name recognition of almost any non-profit organization, with 97 percent of Americans familiar with MADD and what they do. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving has influenced lawmakers to pass new legislation that provides incentives for jurisdictions to pass ignition interlock laws for offenders and to encourage research and implementation of passive in-vehicle detection systems that can stop a drunk driver from operating a vehicle.
The Law Office of Jim Dodson is a proud supporter of MADD and the work it is doing to make the roads safer for everyone.