Posts Tagged ‘drunk driving’

Here at MADD we spend a lot of time educating people that we are more than just mothers, that fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, can all be involved in making a difference. In all of that, I think we sometimes forget, the Power of a Mother. Not that Dads, and brothers, and friends, don’t make a difference, they do! They are making a huge difference across our state, country and beyond and we can’t thank them enough for it! But, there is just something about how a mother can change the world.

We are Mothers Against Drunk Driving, because of a mother. A devastated, passionate, world changing mother. So many lives have been saved, because of her, joining with other mothers and saying they had enough. Because we all know, that nobody fixes a problem like a mother. Moms are the ones we turn to, when we skin our knee, when we fall in love and when we get our hearts broken, they dry our tears, hold our hands and celebrate our joys. They are our mothers and they have the power to make things better like no one else can.

While we haven’t yet eliminated drunk driving from our roads, we have seen great decreases in the numbers and a change in attitude across the country. This is the power of a mother, to make things better. Even when they feel they are at their worst, they have this amazing ability to make things get better. It may not happen over night, but when a mother puts her mind to something it will happen. We will find the day when drunk driving does not exist, because a bunch of mothers decided that one day it would happen.

As Mother’s Day approaches, we think about all of the mothers who have changed the world with their passion. We thank them, for the work they have done, sacrifices they have made and love they have shared. They are powerful, incredible women, and we thank them for being the amazing mothers that they are.

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January 25th, a date set in my head for years now.  More specifically, January 25th, 2002 in New Mexico where four Nebraskan’s lost their lives to a nine time repeat offender.  January was a rough month with multiple fatalties here in Nebraska and 2002 ended up being one of the toughest years for alcohol-related crashes with a total of 115 deaths due to an alcohol-related crash and that is just in our state.http://www.roads.nebraska.gov/nohs/pdf/al6crafat.pdf

I can still remember traveling to New Mexico to be an advocate in the courtroom, for both families,  providing support and a strong shoulder as each family read their victim impact statements, in federal court, about how their loved ones would be forever missed. 

Dale, Jim and Jerry soon became strong supporters of MADD, active at the community and state level and to this day I feel very fortuante to count them as a friend of MADD.  The Beller family has been a strong advocate for mandatory ignition interlock legislation. They first worked with Governor Richardson in New Mexico.  New Mexico was the first to mandate ignition interlock and  over the last few years we have had data supporting that “offenders while on ignition interlock do not re-offend 95% of the time”.

Nebraska does have an ignition interlock law but LB 625 offers a means to mandate for all offenders at .08 and above.  MADD strongly supports this action as a means to ensure every offender is held accountable, pays for his/her crime and ignition interlock ensures public safety.

Today, in memory of the Bellers and the Ramaekers I want to urge you to fight for your fellow Nebraskans and write your state senator to support LB 625, introduced by State Senator Tony Fulton. http://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/senators/senator_list.php

In this day and age, it takes but five minutes to e-mail a note to your senator.  The state senators need to know that we care about our loved ones and we want every family member to arrive home from the day to share the next day ahead.  With your voice MADD can strive to meet the goals set in our Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/campaign/

All of us to should look to those impacted by drunk driving and say enough is enough, there is a better way and for the sake of our families we must be willing to encourge our policy makers to hold those that make the choice to drive drunk accountable.

If you or someone you know has been impacted by an alcohol-related crash please know that MADD is here to support you through the court process and the years ahead. 24 hour hotline: 877-623-3435

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. http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/283/17/2249.full

 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. http://www.nebraskalegislature.gov/index.php

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

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.

The other day one of the MADD past state chairs, for Nebraska, came into the state office to see us.  One would think it was a routine visit to catch up on what is new, taking information about MADD and our mission to the schools (as she has for the last five years in October) or even to see if we needed assistance with any upcoming events.

This visit was NOT routine. Kay was instrumental in helping me understand accounting as I became the executive director of MADD in 2000. Kay then offered her leadership as treasurer and state chair. She was nothing short of inspiring!  For one, she was interested in MADD and she had not been victimized by the crime. She sincerely wanted to be a part of an organization that was meaningful and she strived to ensure the safety of our communities as a MADD volunteer for more than decade.

This day Kay’s visit was different.  She did pick up materials for the middle school to deliver our message to youth about underage drinking prevention, not to ride with a drinking driver and to always wear a seatbelt.

However, her status had changed – Kay too was now a victim of this 100% preventable crime.  Her nephew had been injured and his wife killed in a recent alcohol-related motor vehicle crash in Omaha.

Although she stood strong, I could see the pain etched into her face. I have seen this in so many faces of families MADD has supported during a sudden loss or injury caused by drunk driving.  A crime in so many ways!

Drunk driving knows no boundaries and certainly does not discriminate.  It can knock on our door any time and any day of the year.  Our hearts go out to Kay and her family as they begin a “new normal” for what they knew prior to the crash has been forever erased – a pain that cannot be mended and a loss that will never leave their hearts.

If you or someone you know has been impacted by drunk driving always know MADD is here to support you “We help Survivors Survive” 1-877-623-3435 or contact MADD at www.maddnebraska.org

Here at MADD we do not use the word accident when referring to a drunk driving case and/or incident.  Using the word accident minimizes the impact of the crime committed by the drunk driver in our community.

An “accident” happens by chance.  An “accident” is not anyone’s fault.  Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines “accident” as an event occurring by chance or arising from unknown causes;lack of intention or necessity.

Drunk driving is a deliberate act by a person who makes the deliberate decision to threaten the lives of other people.  Impaired drivers make two clear choices: 1) to use alcohol and/or other drugs and 2) to drive.  The tragedy therefore, could have been prevented. It is a 100% preventable crime.

When a person is involved in an alcohol-related motor vehicle incident, MADD uses the words “crash”, “wreck”, or “crime” to describe the consequences of drunk driving crash. 

MADD would encourage everyone to be mindful of the fact that drunk driving is NO accident – drunk driving is a crime.  Our community safety depends on our shifting attitudes about drunk driving – remember drunk driving is a choice and those that make a choice to drive drunk do so with intent.

If you or someone you know has been impacted by drunk driving  I encourage you to contact MADD 800/444/6233.

We help survivors survive!

In Nebraska, our hearts go out to the many families who now have had their lives forever changed due to an impaired driving crash that was senseless and 100% preventable.  The families, friends, neighbors and all of the community is left shocked, bereaved and devastated. 

http://www.ketv.com/news/24570969/detail.html?taf=oma

 http://www.kmtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=12963218

For the victim/survivor families, they  have to face the emotional loss, legal jargon (that most of us never want to know) and a financial climb that is daunting at the very least. 

MADD Victim Services offers emotional support, information, and guidance on the long road through court to those impacted by the violent crime of impaired driving.   MADD provides these services free of charge and are provided by a trained victim advocate. MADD Nebraska – 800-444-6233. www.maddnebraska.org

One of the very hardest parts about a drunk driving crash is the fact that there was “No Time For Goodbyes”.  Here at MADD we understand the pain and hurt caused by a drunk driver. 

Our mission is: to sop drunk driving, support those impacted by this violent crime and prevent underage drinking.

Victim/Survivor Helpline

Call 1-877-MADD-HELP (877-623-3435) to speak with a Victim Advocate. 

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