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Highlighting our Partners: Mothers Against Drunk Driving


How did MADD get its start? What is the mission of the organization?

Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD, was started in 1980 by a California mom whose daughter was killed in a drunk driving crash. She was joined by another mom in Maryland whose daughter had been seriously injured by a drunk driver. They got involved in policy change, to change the societal norms around the issue and make the crime of drunk driving taboo. So, it was literally moms getting together and recognizing that drunk driving was a massive public health problem. Today, MADD exists to be the voice of victims and survivors by putting faces and names with the statistics. When we organize, when victims get together around a common goal, we achieve great things.

How has working with the Injury Center helped you achieve this mission?

MADD is working with the Injury Center to form a technical working group on the advanced impaired driving prevention rulemaking. As part of the infrastructure bill, congress mandated the US Department of Transportation to set standards for advanced impaired drinking prevention technology. This technology is different than traditional ignition interlock, which is a punitive measure for offenders. Rather, the technology is entirely for prevention -- it will be built into all new cars, the driver has to take no action, but cars will no longer be able to be driven by impaired drivers. Rulemaking for this technology, and its implementation, has the potential to be as impactful as the seat belt and the airbag in terms of potential lives saved -- we're talking about 13,000 people being killed in alcohol-related crashes every year and hundreds of thousands seriously injured. The Injury Center gets that, that there is enormous potential in the public health and injury prevention space during rulemaking. We have been able to invite about a dozen experts in regulatory law and vehicle safety technology who are coming together regularly to create solutions, to create a pathway forward for implementation and surround the process with quality, research-based information. I think one day we'll look back and think, wow! We really did something significant, and we can be really proud of this partnership.

Tell us an interesting fact about your organization. What do you do for fun?

We were all recently at our headquarters office in Texas and went out and did “Fowling”, which is Football-Bowling. You have footballs and massive bowling pins at the other end of the lane. It was a lot of fun. I would highly recommend trying it for team bonding anytime. It's really important to have fun together, so we plan team outings whenever we’re together, to make connections and have a good time together, so that when we come back to the serious stuff, there's a lot of trust and shared mission and purpose between all of our staff and volunteers.

What is your vision for the future of road safety? What can our readers do to help realize that vision?

At some point, cars will no longer be able to be operated by impaired drivers. Vehicles can absolutely be designed to prevent these crashes from happening. Eliminating impaired driving is within reach for the first time ever, and the more we talk about it and socialize it, the better. We have more work to do, and we need the public’s support to get that work done. A lot of people think the problem is solved and would be surprised to know that we're moving in the wrong direction.

To learn more about MADD, sign up for their updates and alerts, or get involved in their mission visit