For the record, there are a lot of reasons to be excited about 2020. Not only is it the start of a brand new decade, it also marks a historic anniversary. 40 years ago in 1980, the advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (or MADD) was formed.
The story of MADD is an important one and it signifies what a devastating toll alcoholism can take. Back on May 3rd 1980, 13-year-old Cari Lightner was struck and killed by a drunk driver in our home state of California. Worse yet, it was a hit-and-run and the perpetrator (who was later caught) had previously been arrested for DUIs. In response, Cari’s mother Candy Lightner became a fierce advocate for safety behind the wheel; pushing for new legislation and ultimately forming the org.
The impact that MADD has made over these past four decades has been extremely significant. Per its official website, drunk driving deaths are down 50 percent since 1980. Their work has also helped nearly one million victims of alcohol-related car accidents and saved 370,000 American lives. Candy Lightner is still active in the organization, writing books and going on lecture tours to teach young people about the dangers of drinking.
The organization has continued to make incredible strides in reducing these types of accidents nationwide. Last year alone, MADD helped lobby for states like Kentucky and New Jersey to implement new automotive safety measures (such as including ignition interlocks for previously convicted drunk drivers). They also helped initiate sobriety checkpoints across all 50 states and even worked with tech companies to help advance alcohol detection in new vehicles.
For the big 40th anniversary, the org will be holding a special conference in Maryland. It won’t happen until November, but promises to include several prominent speakers. It will also, of course, be a major celebration, honoring the amazing work that everyone involved in MADD has done over the years.
We have touted MADD’s successes for years and wholeheartedly congratulate them on this milestone. And we too are staunch advocates for vehicle safety and drunk driving awareness. It is a sad fact, but issues like alcoholism can easily cloud a person’s judgement and lead them to make awful decisions (such as choosing to get behind the wheel). One of the big keys to halting this, in our opinion, is getting these people help early in the cycle. If you know someone battling a drinking problem, please get them to a recovery contact before a terrible tragedy occurs.