Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is tireless in its efforts to get states’ drunk driving laws to conform to the highest standards of effectiveness. Recently the organization released its 2018 Report to the Nation, which rates US states on their anti-impaired driving efforts. According to MADD North Carolina is far from the worst, but there’s some work to be done.

First, the good news: North Carolina has a good system of sobriety checkpoints in place. MADD approves of them as a way of nabbing drunk drivers. The state also criminalizes the refusal of a sobriety test – another measure which takes drunk drivers off the roads.

As to the areas in which North Carolina needs to improve, here is MADD’s prescription:

  • All-offender ignition interlock law. North Carolina needs to mandate the devices, which prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking, for all drunk driving offenses, and not just repeat and high blood-alcohol offenses.
  • Compliance-based removing of interlocks. Ignition interlock devices should only be remove when the offender has passed a given number of months (usually four) with no failed tests.
  • Ignition interlocks available upon arrest.
  • Felony charge for child endangerment. North Carolina does prosecute drivers who drive drunk with a child, but it’s a misdemeanor charge. According to MADD, it should be a felony, as it is in a number of states.

The recommendations that MADD has made – not just for North Carolina, but for every state – are the result of a lot of study into what measures work to reduce the number of alcohol-related road fatalities. The general trend is toward the adoption of these laws. We hope North Carolina takes MADD’s recommendation seriously and steps up its anti-DWI game soon.

ignition interlock for repeat DUI offenders“Ignition interlocks achieve what license suspension cannot,” says a recent email from MADD to its supporters. “They separate drinking from driving.”

Now MADD – Mothers Against Drunk Driving – is starting a push to bring ignition interlocks to all drunk driving offenders – repeat DUI offenders and first-time drunk drivers – in every US state.  Right now 30 states have such laws.

An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.

10th, 11th, 12th DUI Offense? Do a Google Search!

According to MADD – and this is easily verifiable – a Google search for “10th drunk driving offender” will turn up many hits. The reason is that the first recourse for states in the fight against drunk driving is an inadequate one: license suspension. Certainly a drunk driver deserves to have his or her license pulled. But doing so is no guarantee that the offender won’t get back behind the wheel while drunk.

Ignition interlocks are the only measure that actually prevents drunk drivers from taking to the road. The must give a breath sample before they can start a vehicle, and must re-take the breath test at intervals while driving, to demonstrate that they didn’t start drinking after starting up. That’s what makes the devices so effective against repeat DUI offenders.

Test results are logged and handed to monitors to ensure that anyone who is violating the terms of the ignition interlock program can face consequences.

Those who want to further the cause of road safety can help by donating to MADD’s “$50 for 50 States” campaign.


If you want to end drunk driving in North Carolina, the first steps you can take are literally that – steps. The Raleigh Walk Like MADD and MADD Dash 2017, which will take place this Saturday, is an event to raise funds for and awareness of drunk driving issues. Their annual walk is a chance for the citizens of Raleigh to come out in favor of safer roads for everyone. And it’s as easy as putting one foot in front of the other.

It’s easy to do: just register at the MADD page – you have until June 2 to register online. Then show up this Saturday for a walk or run through Lake Benson Park, a gorgeous woodland trail. You can also volunteer to help out at the event. And you don’t need to be a marathon runner – anyone, in any shape, can come along. If you’re in a wheelchair, roll on in. Kids are welcome, as are dogs – it’s a family event that was created to help keep families safe.

If you can’t show up – donate!

Busy this Saturday? You can still make a big difference. Go online and support a team with a donation. Your money helps MADD fight for better anti-drunk driving legislation, including ignition interlock laws, child endangerment laws, and stricter laws against repeat drunk driving.

Got time for a walk this Saturday? Make it count. Join the Raleigh Walk Like MADD and MADD Dash 2017.

Event: Raleigh Walk Like MADD and MADD Dash 2017.  

Date: Saturday, June 3, 2017

Time: 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.

Place: Lake Benson Park

ignition interlocks keep 2.3 million from driving drunkImagine if every person in Phoenix, Tucson and Scottsdale took to the road drunk — 2.3 million people, each under the influence of alcohol. It would be a pretty horrific scenario.

It isn’t going to happen, but it almost happened, in a way, in slow motion. Over the past 10 years 2.3 million people tried to start their cars and trucks, and were stopped because their ignition interlock kept the ignition off. The device wouldn’t let them drive under the influence.

Ignition interlocks, or car breathalyzers, prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.

2.3 million is a lot of people – the entire population of the aforementioned three cities. They were spread out over 50 states and 10 years, so you don’t have to worry about swerving cars knocking over the Barry Goldwater Memorial or clipping the pillars of the Gammage Auditorium.

But it’s an enormous number of drunk drivers, many of whom would have done damage to themselves or other people. The only line of defense for society was the ignition interlock, and it worked. The data is revealed in a new report from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

The idea of totaling up all the successful interventions by the device is to point up the effectiveness of ignition interlocks in saving lives. The widespread problem of drunk driving in America has generated a lot of debate but few solutions that work. Interlocks are a proven solution, most effective when mandated for all DUI offenses, including first offenses.

MADD promotes five measures to combat drunk driving:

  • Ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenderse
  • Sobriety checkpoints
  • ALR (Administrative License Revocation) for all offenders immediately upon arrest
  • Child endangerment laws, imposing more severe punishments on drunk drivers who have a minor as a passenger
  • No refusal laws, which impose penalties for anyone refusing a breath test

More than twenty states have yet to pass an all-offender ignition interlock law. Is it important that they do? Think of those 2.3 million instances of drunk driving that never happened, and how many more might not happen if those interlocks are in place. We could be looking at the population of LA or New York in a few years.

That’s a lot of people. Let’s help them not drive drunk, all right?

madd donuts save livesMost of us love donuts, but we consider them a guilty pleasure, not a device for saving lives. But recently MADD partnered up with Dunkin’ Donuts in Arizona to rally the latter’s circular pastries to the cause of ending drunk driving. And it worked.

On February 28th public-safety-minded and donut-minded citizens of Arizona could purchase MADD donuts which bore the organization’s acronym and the red ribbon design. Fifty cents of each $1.09 donut was donated to MADD to further their efforts to bring about stronger anti-drunk driving laws, to support drunk driving victims, and educate the public on the dangers of impaired driving.

madd donuts in Arizona

Photo: twitter.com/maddonline

The point isn’t the MADD donuts, though they were no doubt delicious. It’s that community support is one of the ways that MADD can do its work even better. We look forward to the day when businesses all over the country, partner with MADD and help raise money to make drunk driving a thing of the past.

In the meantime, pass the donuts.


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There are heroes in movies and comics that wear capes. And heroes in real life that wear uniforms.

But there are also heroes that dress like you and me. They don’t have any special powers or even special training – what they do is pretty much what other people do. But because they do it when they do it, they save lives every day. They save lives by the thousand.

These are our designated drivers. Heroes who come with us to parties, to bars, to dinner, and who stick to ginger ale, water, and juice. They let us drink, and then they drive us home safely.

They deserve some recognition for their heroism, and for 30 years, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has been giving it to them. 2006 is the 30th anniversary of the Tie One On for Safety campaign, the organization’s longest-running and most visible public awareness project. MADD asks that you display a MADD red ribbon on your vehicle to let the world know that you support designated drivers. You can find a ribbon, magnet or decal at a local MADD affiliate.

Tie one on for safety today. Click the button to share on Facebook. And don’t forget to thank your designated driver. We need more heroes in this world.

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