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Definition - What does MADD mean?

What is MADD?

MADD is an acronym that is used as the name for an organization called “Mothers Against Drunk Driving”. The organization seeks to inform, educated, and prevent drunk driving across the country.

When and why was MADD established?

Mothers Against Drunk Driving was established more than 35 years ago on September 5th, 1980. The organization was created in response to her own daughter being killed by a drunk driver. Since then MADD has slowly become larger and more ingrained into the United States. For example, every state in the US is required to have at least one MADD office. MADD also has a presence in Canada, where it is also required to have at least one MADD office per province.

What has MADD done to affect drunk driving?

One of the most important things that the Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization has done is lobbying to reduce the legal Blood Alcohol Content or BAC from .10 to .08. This law was passed in 2000 and by 2004 every state had adopted the standard for legal BAC. This is one of their most notable accomplishments in the organizations 35 years of fighting against drunk driving. A statistic from MADD’s website claims that their program saves some 330,000 lives during that time. Another significant law that the organization pushed for was to require convicted drunk drivers to start their car with an ignition interlock that checks their blood alcohol content to ensure it is below the legal limit. MADD has also teamed up with many other organizations such as the NFL to attempt and stop drunk driving. For example, in the NFL MADD has started the designated driver initiative that attempts to get groups of people watching football to select a designated driver to ensure the entire group is safe. The thing about MADD is that they have affected so many aspects of our daily lives that we sometimes fail to realize it. Many people haven’t heard about MADD before, however most people know about the .08 blood alcohol content level. The company claims that the number of deaths in 2013 totaled at 10,070, while this is still a lot, the charity boasts that this is over 55% less than the death rate in 1980 when they first started working against drunk driving. Mothers Against Drunk Driving isn’t entirely about passing legislation though, another huge purpose of the organization is informing and educating people about the real risk of drunk driving. MADD does this via public service announcements around the country that pinpoint peoples empathy by showing the family of victims of drunk driving. They emphasize the point that no one thinks they will be the one to get in an accident, and how innocent non-drunk drivers can still be killed by a random drunk driver.

Overall, Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been extremely influential not only on the United States legal system, but also the social aspects of drinking and driving, which is now much more highly discouraged. MADD shows that there are options other than driving drunk and you should never do it, and with a 55% decrease in drunk driving fatalities, they must be doing something right.

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