Posts Tagged ‘Children’

On behalf of MADD and our membership across the state, I want to thank those that supported LB 667 on General File and ask for your continued support of this bill on Select File.

 First and foremost MADD supports the provision for mandatory ignition interlocks upon conviction on all offenders at .08 or above. We all know drunk driving is a violent crime and one person dies, on average, every five days in an alcohol-related crash in our state. 

Despite the fact that life saving technology exists, it is not uncommon for the courts to ask the offender if he/she wants it installed.  The law requiring ignition interlock, in its current state, is an optional law.  MADD is concerned about the disparity of treatment of offenders and MADD believes mandatory ignition interlock would provide for equitable treatment of all offenders.

 In 2009, there were more than 13,000 arrests for DWI, our state conviction rate stands at 86 percent and yet in 2009 there were only 1,800 ignition interlocks in use. Recently, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released that ignition interlocks work to stop drunk driving and reduce recidivism.   

However, it is clear that judicial discretion is not providing for equitable treatment of offenders across the state. From our MADD Court Monitoring Program, we can see that there is clearly an inconsistent use of ignition interlock (1 out of every 6 offenders).

LB 667 will provide for a more consistent use of ignition interlock across the state both as an administrative measure and as a post-conviction measure.  The use of this technology will help to ensure safe passage on our roads for all Nebraskans. 

Last, MADD strongly supports acknowledging the transportation of a child while under the influence as distinct crime.  Two-thirds of all children ages 14 and under killed in an alcohol-related crash are killed while riding with a parent, caregiver or guardian (JAMA, May 200).  These children have no voice and they have no choice.  In Nebraska, over the last five years, more than 260 children have been put at-risk and 19 have died in an alcohol-related crash involving an adult  driver with a BAC of .08 or higher (NOHS). The lives of our youth deserve to have a policy in place to protect them from harm.

Thank you for your continued support. Contact your state senator


In May 2000, the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) published “Characteristics of Child Passenger deaths and injuries involving Drinking Drivers.”  The study found that two-thirds of all children ages 14 and under that were killed in an alcohol-related crash were in fact riding with a drinking driver old enough to be the parent, caregiver or guardian.

 Protecting children is a value Nebraskans cherish. Yet, despite the fact drunk driving is a violent crime, driving while impaired with children riding in the vehicle is not a commonly acknowledged form of child endangerment or child abuse in our state.  No child should have to choose to ride with an impaired driver.  However, minor children have little choice when the driver is the parent or other adult caregiver.

 Child endangerment laws protect innocent children from child abusers, not only those who are physically or emotionally abusive, but those who victimize a child by driving over the legal limit (.08 BAC). An impaired driver makes the choice to drink and drive. The child has no voice and no choice when it comes to riding with the parent or adult caregiver.

It is clear that innocent children who count on parents and caregivers to protect them from danger are in fact being placed at risk when riding with an adult over the legal limit.  MADD supports LB 625, making driving with a child (15 and under) when the adult is over the legal limit (.08 BAC) a felony offense.

 MADD knows we can make a difference in the lives of children, our most precious cargo, who are endangered by impaired drivers.  Write your state senator and support LB 625, as introduced by State Senator Tony Fulton or LB 667, introduced by Speaker Flood both versions contain a child endangerment while intoxicated provision.

MADD stands strong on the felony offense.  MADD implores everyone to make a difference in the lives of children who cannot protect themselves.

Burger King is going to sell beer at a few of their selected chains.  

First and foremost, MADD is not against the sale of alcohol.  MADD is against the misuse of alcohol when it is over served, served to minors or people make the choice to drive impaired after drinking.  Remember Buzzed Driving IS Drunk Driving. 

Second, a point a parent brought to my attention, if the Burger Kings are going to sell beer will they employee only those over 21?  Now that is food for thought – no pun intended! 

Last, I want to go back to one of MADD’s programs and that is “Every Child Deserves a Designated Driver”.  So when you do go out please have a plan in place to have a sober driver when transporting your friends, family and our next generation.  

Children are our greatest resource and our future.

Well, if you want more on this topic all you have to do is Google and you will find over 400 news-related items just a click away.

OK last thing, I think it is somewhat contradictory that BK introduces a gluten senstive menu along with beer?!  Hmmm – have to ponder on that.

Sitting 400 miles away a press release came across my e-mail but this one was not the usual news. No. It was news that even a veteran victim advocate was touched by and sadness filled my heart for the community, school and family.  As I read the news release, 2 sisters, 17 & 15, in Box Butte County were driving to school when they were hit by a pick-up truck.  Both sisters died at the scene.It is difficult to imagine the magnitude of pain associated with the traumatic death of not one but two loved ones.  For many grief is unchartered territory and can be very unsettling. Here at MADD we know one of the hardest parts of grief is the apparent “Senselessness of the Death.”  People generally understand that death occurs when bodies grow old or are no longer able to fight disease.  Knowing that your child was just on their way to school doing what every other child is doing – well that is one of the most painful aspects of your grieving. 

 Now the world, as you knew it, is forever changed when someone experiences a traumatic and unexpected death.  There was no time to say good-by. However painful and difficult, grieving is necessary to heal and to find new meaning in life.

As we face those challenges here are a few coping tips:                                                                

  •  Tell your story over and over again
  • Get support from a counselor, school counselor, support group or a trained MADD advocate
  • Write about your experience in a journal
  • Seek information about your loved one’s crash, to answer those unanswered questions
  • Understand that everyone grieves differently, and be especially sensitive to family members who may be grieving differently than you
  • Reinvest in life by reaching out to others

    Share your life with others


Simera Reynolds, M.Ed.

State Executive Director

jail-women-746Women are being arrested at a higher rate for drunk driving should not come as a BIG surprise.  More women are working; more women have a disposable income, and more women own cars.  It is a disturbing trend.  There is little doubt that women have more opportunities to transport children and that in point is where the real concern should focus: Every child deserves a safe & sober ride home.

 The Omaha World Herald called and spoke with me yesterday regarding this issue.  My response: Drunk Driving does not discriminate.

In Nebraska, in 2008 we had more than 8,800 men arrested for DWI and more than 2,200 women arrested for DWI (NOHS).  It appears, from the math, that there still is a disproportionate amount of males driving while intoxicated.  Just think if there were only 2,200 males arrested for drunk driving we could close the ranks on impaired driving dramatically.

Over The Limit Under Arrest

Over The Limit Under Arrest

 There is only blame to be placed on the one who makes the choice to drive a 2,000 pound bullet after consuming alcohol.  Drinking and driving is a public health epidemic.  Here in our state one person dies every five days due to an alcohol-related crash. Every 5 days! 

This Labor Day Weekend make sure you have plans to get home by designating a sober driver, make sure your children are not riding with a drinking driver and know enforcement is out.

Simera Reynolds, M.Ed.

State Executive Director

I am going to depart a bit from our mission to share with you the importance of taking time out for yourself and those whom you love.  Often at work, not just at MADD either, many of us get sooo darn busy we forget to hear the sounds of life that are sprinkled all around us. 

Trust me, I have learned from others that spending time on yourself, even if it seems indulgent, is important.  Equally important is spending time with family, friends and neighbors.  Our sense of community is what keeps us grounded as work takes a toll, kids keep us on our toes and another telemarketer calls!

I am lucky enough to spend a few days with my great nieces and we are going to Oceans of Fun. I have never been there – can you believe it? There is nothing so uplifting as the chuckle of a youngster – just being around them rejuvenates me and reminds me of why the work I do IS so dang important.  The next generation.

Happy Birthday Girls!

Happy Birthday Girls!

So I am off to Celebrate Birthdays in a BIG way with the next generation.  Next week my mom will celebrate her 78th birthday and it is extra special as she survived a drunk driving crash two years ago and now my parents are here in Lincoln with me.  A special comfort to know I can see them daily!  Life is precious take a day off for yourself…………..

The grand essentials for happiness are: somethng to do, somehing to love and something to hope for.   ALLAN K. CHALMERS

Simera Reynolds, M.Ed.

A Lincoln radio station me on Friday about the MOM who received 9 days jail for procuring kegs for underage kids.  She stated she didn’t know what was going on but then ultimately told the Judge she did.  I think a person should get 9 days jail just for not telling the Judge the truth!Jail

Parents we can not fall into the friendship trap, the “better to drink at my house than the neighbors” trap or the long time touted “I’m bored“.  Parents have a responsibility to tow the line and hold their youth accountable –  follow the law.  I’ve always wondered how many parents would teach their kids to shoplift?  When I bring that up in conversation I am met with gasps!  No one would do that – then how did we get to a point where we pick and choose which law is OK to break?  Why is it OK to give an inexperienced driver alcohol (also not legal age) and expect them to get home in one piece (this is of course a rhetorical question).

In our house, I told my daughter flat out, “If you are around alcohol at any event you need to leave or I will lose my job and our names will be plastered in the papers”.  OK, I may have exagerated a bit – but I would have lost my job easily and there is little doubt (in this day and age)that my name would have made front page, or at least the local section, of the paper.  I was clear  with my daughter – front and center – no drinking until 21  Laws are made for the betterment of the whole.

Let every man remember that to violate the law is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear that charter of his own and his children’s liberty.
Abraham Lincoln

Lastly, I want to thank our county courts for holding parents who provide accountable.  This is clearly unacceptable behavior. 

Simera Reynolds, M. Ed.

Care for the ones you love.

Care for the ones you love.