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Reviewing the History of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)

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) mandatory for 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 fines and 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.