Throughout the years, one of the nation’s loudest and proudest voices
in the movement to eliminate drunk driving and increase the penalties
for doing so has consistently been Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The organization was created in 1980 after its founder’s daughter
was killed by an intoxicated driver who had recently been released from
jail after a fourth
DUI arrest. MADD’s mission statement has been reworded a few times over the
last 35+ years but the underlying concept has always been the same: help
protect Americans by raising awareness of drunk driving dangers, discouraging
all people from driving after drinking, and increasing the penalties associated
with DUI convictions.
Positive Changes Thanks to MADD
Before MADD was founded in 1980, there were about 25,000 alcohol-related
traffic deaths in the country annually. This number is staggering, considering
that today there are around 30,000 traffic deaths of any sort each year.
The group’s efforts drew large crowds, brought people together,
and truly encouraged people to be smarter and safer behind the wheel.
With just over 10,000 drunk driving deaths in 2013, it would appear that
MADD’s mission is going strong and making a difference.
Potential Negatives to MADD
For every action that MADD has taken throughout the years, there have been
opponents who resisted the ideas. It is a discredit to them to simply
discount them as naysayers, as many people who criticize MADD have sound
and logical reasons. For example, as of June 2015, MADD had helped ensure
that 25 states made ignition interlock devices (IID)
all DUI convictions, even when the driver caused no harm and had a spotless
record otherwise. If you know what an IID is, you are probably aware that
these devices are costly, inconvenient, and socially embarrassing.
MADD has also played an integral role in both lowering acceptable blood
alcohol concentration (BAC) levels while simultaneously raising
jail time used in sentencing DUI offenders. Is this rebalancing of the law, which
has made it both easier to get a conviction and more damaging to the convicted,
truly the fair way to prevent drunk driving? Or must any law backed by
such a powerful lobby be viewed with scrutiny?
At Campbell Whitten, we never like to hear that someone was hurt due to
a drunk driver but we also don’t support the notion of slamming
them with excessive, hurtful, and nonconstructive penalties. Our Bakersfield
DUI attorneys are dedicated to providing our clients with an honest, creative,
and tenacious team of attorneys – not just one single legal defender
but many – when they come to us for DUI defense.
Contact us today to learn how our cutting-edge legal strategies can help protect
your driving privileges.