Although Candy Lightner, a California housewife, is probably the best known of MADD's organizers, MADD or Mothers Against Drunk Drivers was actually
established by a group of women outraged after the death of a teenage girl killed by a repeat-offender drunk driver. The noble goal of the original
organization was to offer the families of victims both support and a voice. (MADD ~ About
Yet from these humble beginnings nearly a quarter century ago, MADD has evolved into one of the most widely supported, "well-liked", powerful and
altogether unchallenged non-profit lobbying organizations in America.
Now an international organization with over 600 chapters, MADD claims at
least partial responsibility for more than 2,300 anti-drunk driving laws passed since 1980. That's 2,300 new laws in just two decades!!! And they
aren' t done yet!
Last year 36% of MADD's $50 million budget came from government grants and corporations it partners with, like the fundraising telemarketing firm
DialAmerica Marketing, Inc. Another 18% came from chapter memberships and licensing... after all this is a business. And a whopping 46% of the $50
million came from individual contributions from those that MADD seeks to restrict with increasingly vigilant legislation.
A partial timeline of the History of MADD efforts:
~Mothers Against Drunk Drivers is established in California.
~The first two chapters of MADD are created in California and Maryland.
~President Reagan announces a Presidential Task Force on drunk driving and invites MADD to serve on it.
~MADD backs a resolution enacted into law by Congress to establish the first National Drunk and Drugged Driving Awareness Week in December 1982.
~MADD grows to 100 chapters by year-end.
~Federal "21" minimum drinking age bill is enacted
~MADD goes international
~Telemarketing programs spur growth in grassroots support and serve as a major public awareness campaign to educate the general public on drunk
~MADD submits an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court opposing an effort by several states to rule the federal Age 21 law ruled unconstitutional.
The law was successfully upheld.
~The infamous Kentucky Bus Crash outrages the public, adds monumental support and clout to MADD, and offers the lobbying organization it's first
"unoffical" trademarked tragedy... On May 14, 1988, a school bus full of children, teens and chaperones traveled down Interstate 71 to Radcliff,
Kentucky, on the way home from a church outing at a Cincinnati amusement park. MADD calls the infamous Kentucky Bus Crash "the worst alcohol-related
traffic crash in U.S. history" and still devotes much of it's marketing effort to this emotional (albeit historic) plea:
(A legacy of hope)
~Omnibus Anti-Drug Abuse Act is signed. Included in this landmark bill is an amendment extending to all victims of DWI the same compensation rights
offered to victims of other crimes. Another amendment creates the Drunk Driving Prevention Act (Section 410) to increase incentives for key state DWI
law enactment. Also adopted was the Alcohol Beverage Labeling Act, requiring warnings on alcohol containers.
~Impaired Driving Issues Compendium is created and ten companion workshops scheduled to instruct judges, legislators, law enforcement officials and
MADD members on how to amend and implement stronger anti-DWI laws.
~All 50 states now had passed Age 21 as the minimum legal drinking age.
~MADD files an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court over the constitutionality of sobriety checkpoints. Following a hearing, the court rules in
favor of checkpoints. MADD later establishes the week of July 4th as National Sobriety Checkpoint Week.
~Congress passed the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), which included an updated, more accessible Section 410 program to more
effectively encourage states to adopt key anti-DUI legislation; MADD had a key role in shaping the program.
~The first national "Rating the States" Survey is released, drawing nationwide attention to the status of state and federal efforts against drunk
~The Transportation Employee Testing Safety Act passes, requiring alcohol as well as drug testing of transportation employees in safety-sensitive
jobs, including random, pre- employment and post-crash testing. MADD constituents helped turn the tide and secure House action after the Senate had
already taken action 11 times.
~MADD testifies on Capitol Hill on issues including funding for the Section 410 incentive grant program and on the Sensible Advertising and Family
Education (SAFE) Act, to require extending the current health and safety warnings on alcohol beverage containers to all alcohol advertising.
~Fifth state passes a law lowering the legal blood alcohol limit from .10 to .08.
~MADD participates in the Secretary of Transportation's Summit on Highway Safety, announcing a proposed goal of reducing alcohol-related traffic
fatalities to 11,000 or fewer by the year 2005.
~MADD begins holding public policy institutes to train state public policy liaisons in DUI issues and legislative how-to techniques.
~Federal Zero Tolerance Law was passed by the U.S. Congress tying federal highway funds to the passage of a state-level version of the Zero Tolerance
~President Clinton and Senator Dole announce support for crime victims' constitutional amendment
~MADD commemorates the tenth anniversary of the Kentucky Bus Crash, the deadliest drunk driving crash in U.S. history killing 27 and injuring 30
~U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passes federal .08 bill although House refuses to vote on amendment. Congress adopts a $500 million incentive grant
~"Zero Tolerance" legislation is passed in all 50 states at the threat of revoked highway funding.
~The MADD National Board of Directors unanimously votes to change the organization's mission statement to include the prevention of underage
~MADD holds its 20th anniversary rally outside the U.S. Capitol where 600 activists call upon Congress to enact a national .08 BAC standard.
~U.S. Congress passes a national .08 BAC measure as part of the Federal Transportation Appropriations Bill. President Clinton signs the bill into law
on October 23, 2000.
~MADD holds national news conferences with support from congressional leaders about the impact of alcohol advertising on youth and opposition to
proposed legislation to rollback the federal excise tax on beer.
~MADD testifies before Senate and Congressional leaders on the reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), a
six-year highway funding bill.
~Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia pass the illegal .08 blood alcohol concentration law by 2002.
~MADD updates its image with a new logo and slogan: GET MADD ALL OVER AGAIN.
Yet after all this success, what does MADD still have to be mad about?
It's simple really... their own success!
Between 1980 - the year MADD was founded - and 1994, alcohol-related traffic deaths dropped by a dramatic 43 percent. Since then, the annual drunk
driving death toll has stalled at approximately 16,000 to 17,000. Meanwhile drunk driving arrests and corresponding punishments continue to
increase exponentially as mandated by the government lobbyists and watchdogs on the angry mothers payroll. Yay team MADD!
"The good news is that since 1980, an estimated 200,000 alcohol-related traffic deaths have been prevented," said MADD National President Millie I.
Webb. "But, the bad news is that since 1994 the war on drunk driving has flatlined." Oh no, we won the war! What's a $50 million lobbying
organization to do?
New 8-Point Plan to GET MADD ALL OVER AGAIN!
In response to this "plateau" of success the former support group turned political powerhouse convened a National Impaired Driving Summit in January
to bring together leading experts to identify new strategies in the "War on Drinking". Oops, did I say that? I meant "Drunk driving." Um, sure
MADD Gets MADDer
1) Resuscitate the nation's efforts to prevent impaired driving by re-igniting public passion and calling on the citizens and the nation's leaders
to "Get MADD All Over Again."
2) Increase DWI/DUI enforcement
, especially the use of frequent, highly publicized sobriety checkpoints
, which have been proven one of
the most effective weapons in the war on drunk driving (and the Constitution!)
3) Enact primary enforcement seat belt laws in all states
because seat belts are the best defense against impaired drivers. MADD recommends the
federal government give states a brief incentive period, followed by withholding federal highway funds from states that do not enact primary belt
4) Enact tougher, more comprehensive sanctions geared toward higher-risk drivers
-- repeat offenders, drivers with high blood-alcohol levels,
and DWI offenders driving with suspended licenses would be subject to a new low in tolerance... the 0.5 BAC limit, coming soon to speed trap near
5) Develop a dedicated National Traffic Safety Fund
to $upport ongoing and new priority traffic safety programs.
6) Reduce underage drinking
-- the No. 1 youth drug problem - through improving minimum drinking age laws, adopting tougher alcohol advertising
standards and increasing enforcement and awareness of laws such as "zero tolerance drinking-driving" and sales to minors.
7) Increase beer excise taxes
to equal the current excise tax on distilled spirits. Higher beer taxes are associated with lower rates of
traffic fatalities and youth alcohol consumption.
8) Reinvigorate court-monitoring programs
to identify shortcomings in the judicial system and produce higher conviction rates and stiffer
sentences for offenders.
"In this new era of homeland security, we cannot forgo the domestic fight against drunk driving" said MADD President Webb
So if you liked them before when they lowered the BAC limit from 1.0 to 8.0, raised the drinking age from 18 to 19 to 21 or any of the other 2,300
anti-"drunk" driver laws they passed the first two decades... then you'll LOVE the new improved "war on you" with more sobriety checkpoints,
tougher seatbelt enforcement, judging of judges, lowering the legal BAC to 0.5 for repeat offenders and increasing beer taxes!!!
ENOUGH ALREADY MADD!!!
If I have to know when to say when, you should too! You won already! Go celebrate or something. Have a damn beer.
$$$ For another look a the MADD/Government conspiracy consider when MADD got the BAC limit lowered to 0.8 allowing increased county revenues from
DUI's. Did your state raise the speed limit around that same time? More DUI revenue means less need for speeding tickets. Death rates be damned, as
long as it all evens out financially! $$$
Please consider copying this essay and e-mailing your buddy list with the FACTS on MADD. If power corrupts; then absolute power corrupts
absolutely. No lobbying entity with this much power should go unchallenged.
STOP THE M.A.D.D.ness!!!