MADD Hawaii Commemorates 40th Anniversary with fundraising campaign 40/40/12 Campaign

Commemorate MADD Hawaii’s 40th anniversary by making a lasting impact. Join the 40/40/12 Club. We welcome all donations including more than $40, a smaller amount, or becoming an individual or corporate sponsor. By joining the club you support our mission to create a future with #NoMoreVictims of Impaired Driving. Every contribution makes a difference! Scan the QR code or click here to donate.

How MADD Hawaii started:  Carol McNamee and her physician husband Phil McNamee first visited Hawaii in 1960 on their honeymoon and loved the islands so much they moved here in the early 1970s. As a volunteer with the Hawaii Medical Association Auxiliary, she attended a conference in Hilo that included guest speaker Dr. Michael Irwin. 

At the conference, Irwin told a story of his wife and two-year-old son all driving home together from a tennis tournament when his wife asked him to stop at a store to buy milk. As he was turning into the parking lot, a car sped towards them and he could not avoid them. The car smashed the passenger side of the Irwins’ vehicle. Dr. Irwin’s wife died in his arms and their toddler son was thrown from the hatchback and sustained life-changing injuries. 

“I had never heard such a terrible traffic story,” McNamee said. “They found out that the person who hit them was under the influence. He was impaired. We heard this story and I just didn’t know that things like that happened in the world. Dr. Irwin also said he was reading about a new organization founded by a woman named Candy Lightner and the name of the organization was Mothers Against Drunk Driving, MADD.” 

McNamee was inspired to make a difference. She got the auxiliary to take on the issue of drunk driving and vote to establish Hawaii’s chapter of MADD. This February, MADD Hawaii commemorated 40 years of work to save lives and support victims of violent and preventable crimes.  “We continue to have a huge problem, even though great strides have been made,” said McNamee who remains an active member of MADD Hawaiiʻs advisory board.

Every day, about 37 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes — that’s one person every 39 minutes. In 2021, 13,384 people died in alcohol-impaired driving traffic deaths. These deaths were all preventable. “It has been an interesting ride which is why I never gave it up,” McNamee says of the past four decades.”It’s become too important. We need to do the right thing. We’re not against alcohol, we’re against drinking and driving. People need to be educated.”

Over the past four decades, MADD Hawaii has reached many milestones, see below for some highlights, and click here for more milestones.

1984: Inaugural Candlelight Vigil to remember victims held at Holy Trinity Church in Niu Valley. The same evening, Jon Raneses, 22, was killed by a drunk driver near Sandy Beach. 

1984-86: Key milestone achieved through campaigns and community work/engagement to raise Hawaii’s drinking age; legislature passes bill to raise the drinking age from 18 to 21. 

1985-86: Partnership launch of “Project Prom/Graduation” workshops for students with Dept. of Transportation and the Dept. of Education statewide sponsorship. 

1986-87: A “Designated Driver” awareness program was established with the support of several local organizations. 

1991: “Administrative Driver License Revocation” (ADLR) statute passes after an eight-year campaign. This new law is flawed and MADD Hawaii challenges the community to “fix the flaw in the law.” A special session of the legislature was called by Senate President Dickie Wong after he received 3,000 calls protesting the law. Wong called MADD a “giant killer.”

1997: Their Impaired Driving Task Force works to pass several key pieces of legislation: 

  • Zero tolerance for minor drivers under the age of 21
  • Police are given the authority to test drivers for the presence of drugs 
  • Medical personnel in hospital emergency room are required to report illegal BAC levels to police

2003: The MADD Victim Memorial is unveiled and dedicated at Kakaʻako Waterfront Park. Governor Lingle, former First Lady Vicky Cayetano, National MADD President Wendy Hamilton, MADD Hawaii Founder Carol McNamee, and victims Robert Gore and Theresa Paulette serve as guest speakers.

2010: Inaugural “Walk Like MADD” with the help of a victim’s family in the Navy at Kakaʻako Waterfront Park.   

2010: MADD Hawaii holds the “MADD Cab Affair,” the first MADD event in the nation where alcohol is available but the guests arrive and depart in a cab; a speak-easy theme held at a secret location.

2017: Strong support and partnerships begin with Leeward Oahu victim families, including work on a legislative measure to strengthen negligent homicide when the defendant has failed to render aid. 

2018: MADD Hawaii sponsors the “Drugs and Driving – A Call to Action” conference and additional project components to educate the community about the danger of drug-impaired driving among drivers ages 16 to 28. 

2000: MADD Hawaii sponsors the Hawaii Youth Summit and Youth in Action Conference trip to Washington DC.

2021: President Joe Biden signed the infrastructure law that included the impaired driving protection provision which MADD views as the beginning of the end of drunk driving.

2023: 20th Anniversary of the Dedication of the MADD Victim Memorial. #NoMoreVictims

2024:  Relaunch Underage Drinking Program for high school students; Commemorate 40 Years of Making a Difference.