Archive for December, 2010

Lincoln, NE (December 28, 2010) – Make the resolution to save a life in 2011, it could be the easiest thing you do all year. By making the decision to always designate a sober driver before you go out, you make the roads safer.

 In 2009, 79 people were killed on Nebraska roads by drunk drivers, this year that number has grown. But, together we have the opportunity to change that in 2011. “This year we can all take the responsible stand and always designate a sober driver every time you plan to drink alcohol. Together we have the ability to create change and that change could save a life,” said MADD Nebraska Executive Director, Simera Reynolds.

Nationwide, someone is injured in a drunk driving crash every minute. The number of lives impacted by drunk driving is countless. Reducing this impact is simple, Make a plan before you head out the door for how you are getting home at the end of the night. MADD

Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving - Make the right call.

encourages everyone to make sure they have a safe ride home for their new year’s celebrations and for events all year round.

 “Here in our state one person is injured every three hours due to an alcohol-related crash. MADD would ask everyone to drive safe, sober and buckled up – remember your seatbelt is your best defense against drunk driving.” stated Reynolds.

 As you prepare to ring in this New Year, make sure you think of all those who won’t be celebrating this year because a drunk driver took their life. Plan to designate a sober driver. It is a smart and simple choice that will make Nebraska a safer place.

 Additionally, as you host events please include fun non-alcoholic drinks and snacks for your company and party goers.  For fun party ideas go to: http://www.madd.org/media-center/media-library/safe-party-guide.html

 From all of us here at MADD Nebraska – our best to you and yours in 2011!

Advertisements

I want to take a moment to thank the leadership at the University of Nebraska for setting  solid standards for the student athletes and following through by holding  players accountable .  MADD applauds Coach Pelini for holding those that make the choice to drink and drive accountable for their actions. 

In Nebraska, collegiate athletes are held to very high standards by the fans in our state.  From football, volleyball, baseball and even bowling our student athletes strive for the best that they can and as fans we appreciate their sportsmanship.  However, when an athlete makes the choice to break the law by driving drunk-then all of us are impacted by that action.

With that said, here at MADD we do know that driving over the legal limit is not unique to student athletes. In fact, alcohol misuse is a serious public health problem across the state.  The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services came out with survey results yesterday. http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/audio/

According to the Nebraska Young Adult Alcohol Opinion Survey,  here’s what randomly sampled 19-25 year olds said about:

Alcohol use

  • Two-thirds of 19-25 year olds in Nebraska reported drinking alcohol within the last month.
  • Two out of every five reported binge drinking (5 or more drinks for men/4 or more drinks for women within a couple of hours).
  • Young adults living in urban areas of the state reported the highest percentage for alcohol use.
  • Young adults 19-22 enrolled in school full time were more likely than their non-full-time peers to consume alcohol and binge drink.
  • 21-25 year olds were about twice as likely as 19-20 year olds to drink and binge drink.
  • Females and males were equally likely to drink and binge drink.
  • Most young adults consumed alcohol at their home or another person’s home.
  • Three in five young adults reported that they usually drank beer. Beer was followed by liquor, wine and then flavored-malt beverages.

Alcohol-impaired driving

  • About three in every 10, 19-25 year olds said they drove a car under the influence of alcohol over the past year.

 MADD encourages everyone to have a plan in place prior to going out, stick to your plan and always have a designated driver. It is not only a gift to your friends it is a gift to the community.

Today is December 17th, a day that is imprinted onto my heart.  In 2006, my mother was riding in a car looking at the holiday lights with her sister in Fort Collins. Four years ago today at about 9:00 pm, I had that phone call that none of us want, many of us never believe it will happen to our family and others dread knowing full well it can happen to us. 

I remember the day before, Saturday, December 16th, the most vivid as I was painting a room in the house with anticipation of the coming holiday!  My mom called and she noticed I wasn’t very attentive to her conversation (just like a kid preoccupied with my life) and so we agreed I would give her a call on Sunday.  Well Sunday came and went with out me calling my mom – I know busy with life again!

The phone rang  that night and I knew it must be my mom, my daughter answered but it was not my mom it was my father.  He was at the hospital and had been there since 6 pm when my mom, aunt and uncle were struck by a drunk driver.  Drunk driving is merciless it knows no boundaries and will impact anyone at anytime. 

Honestly, as my father told me about the events, all I could really think about was how I did not talk to my mother on Saturday. Too busy painting, ugh!  I should have listened, I should have told her I loved her, I should of……anything but hear the news of a drunk driving crash.

So this week, take time to listen to your friends and loved ones as you may never know when it will be the last time.  I know when someone calls I listen now more than ever and I have for the last four years.  I just spoke to my mom a few minutes ago.  They are coming over for dinner with my daughter and son-in-law as he graduates from the University of Nebraska this week.  My mom is here and my daughter is here and I am fortunate to have them for my best friends. 

This week when a phone call comes in listen like you never listened before – life is short and we must hold onto every moment.

If you have been impacted by a drunk driver contact MADD – we help survivors survive.

MADD helped me in 2006 and I will always be grateful.

This year MADD kicked-off our annual “Tie One On for Safety” campaign.  This is a time where we ask the public to make a pledge to drive safe, sober and buckled up! 

MADD Nebraska would like to thank the Governor and First Lady Sally Ganem for hosting this event at the Governor’s Residence – we had a fantastic turn out with plenty of sun and a bit of chill in the air.  The chill was a wonderful reminder of the holiday’s around the bend and the importance of making sure each and every one of us make the best choice to get home safely – home to friends, family and our community.

A special thanks to all of our law enforcement partners that showed up to support our campaign.  Law enforcement will be out all month conducting special enforcement s to ensure that the motoring public is safe from impaired drivers. 

MADD would also like to thank Hy-Vee stores across the state of Nebraska as our Signature Sponsor – get you MADD ribbon at your local Hy-Vee and take time to let the store manager you appreciate their support.  Also, we want to thank all of our supporters that have donated throughout the year and enable MADD Nebraska to provide services to victim/survivors, local communities, parents and our youth.

All of us here at MADD are grateful for the support we receive and please know if you need anything MADD is always here for you and yours.  You can contact us here at MADD 24/7 at 800-444-6233.

 

Friday, Dec. 3rd the Greater Omaha area held an educational “wet lab” to demonstrate just how many drinks it really takes to reach .08 BAC (blood alcohol content).  There were more than half a dozen volunteers that were drinking and then equal amount of law enforcement Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) on hand to monitor the impact alcohol had on the volunteer drinkers. http://www.kmtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=13614994 Most volunteer drinkers felt that they would not want to drive after they reached a limit of .05 BAC.

Also there was a press conference where First Lady Sally Ganem spoke about the need for parents to talk to their youth about the dangers of underage drinking and keeping a close eye on our children this holiday season. 

Attorney General Jon Bruning stepped up to the plate at the press conference stating that his office and several key senators were working to implement changes to hold offenders accountable:

Changes in the law would include:

  • Mandatory ignition interlock for all offenders .08 and above
  • DUI/Child Endangerment as a Felony Offense
  • Higher penalties for those that procure for minors, including jail time
  • Enhanced BUI for boating under the influence
  • Distinct crime for DUI homicide and serious bodily injury  

These are all welcome changes for our members and supporters.  When you consider the fact that DUI is the most frequently committed crime in our state with more than 13,000 arrests in 2009 and the fact that 1 person dies every 4 days in our state due to an alcohol-related crash and 1 person is injured every 3 hours – Attorney General Bruning, and the Nebraska Unicameral, is spot on to address the need to enhance penalties and hold offenders accountable.

Contact your state senator and let them know you support increased penalties for DUI homicide and injury, DUI Child Endangerment, BUI enhancements. The most important letter you can write this holiday is not to Santa but to your state senator requesting  that the Unicameral pass a bill implementing  mandatory ignition interlock on every offender’s car we want them to – “Blow Before You Go”.  This legislation will save lives, support the fabric of our community and hold those who make the choice to drink and drive accountable for their crime.

A special note of thanks goes out to the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Department, and all participating law enforcement agencies, and to Fire Guard for their hospitality on Friday!

  

I was invited to go to the third shift briefing last night, November 30th, as the Lincoln Police Department kicked-off their annual holiday campaign enforcing our laws that protect us from impaired drivers.  First off, I want to thank State Senator Tony Fulton for coming along with MADD and talking about important legislation fast approaching the Unicameral in January.

Second, I want to express my sincere appreciation for the work all law enforcement officers do daily to ensure the public is safe, convictions are made and offenders are held accountable – especially when it comes to drunk driving.  Drunk driving is a  crime that is violent and randomly impacts friends, family and our community.  Driving drunk is not a mistake – drunk driving is a choice and I for one appreciate our law enforcement officers for making sure those who make the choice to drive drunk are apprehended.

Here at MADD, all of us want to support the heroes who keep our roads safe. Through research, high-visibility law enforcement has proven to be effective in catching drunk drivers and acts as a deterrent by discouraging  others from driving drunk.  MADD applauds the work done in Lancaster County with 2,939 arrests for DUI, in 2009, and an astounding 2,221 made by the Lincoln Police Department. That is an average of 6 arrests for DUI a day – every day of the year!

As the holiday season fast approaches, I want to remind everyone to make a personal pledge to designate a sober driver for the evening, always wear your seatbelt and never provide alcohol to those under 21 – it’s the law!

Last, a special thanks to all law enforcement officers across the state for the work they accomplish and for ensuring our roads are safe to travel. Be it shopping for gifts, bringing home that special tree or just meeting up with friends and family – thank those heroes who keep us safe!