DALLAS – Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) wants to remind everyone to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year safely by planning ahead for a non-drinking designated driver. Making the right choice to never drive impaired is more important than ever. Preliminary NHTSA estimates show a staggering 9% increase in drunk driving deaths in 2020. Early estimates for the first half of 2021 show an alarming rise in traffic deaths largely due to impaired driving, speeding and not wearing seatbelts.
“Especially after the trying last 18 months around the world, we want people to be able to truly celebrate the New Year, but in a way that helps ensure we all get to go home at night, and we all get to go home in one piece,” said MADD National President Alex Otte. “We ask that people make the choice to designate a non-drinking driver – or to BE the designated driver – before the first sip of alcohol.”
According to NHTSA, 837 people lost their lives in traffic crashes involving a drunk driver in December 2019. During the 2019 holiday periods of Christmas (6 p.m. December 24 to 5:59 a.m. December 26) and New Year’s (6 p.m. December 28, 2018, to 5:59 a.m. January 2, 2019), there were 210 drunk driving-related fatalities – more than during any other holiday period that year. Drunk driving is the leading killer on America’s roads, killing more than 10,000 people and injuring 300,000 more every year.
MADD is on a path to eliminate drunk and drugged driving. In September, MADD teamed up with Anheuser-Busch, the country’s leading brewer and American manufacturer, and ridesharing platform market leader Uber for a first-of-its-kind coalition aimed at bringing an end to drunk driving. The coalition has broadcast the message “If You Drink, Don’t Drive, Decide to Ride” to millions of homes across the country on NFL game days and to fans inside stadiums and other locations where Anheuser-Busch products are sold.
“We are bringing the message, ‘If you drink, don’t drive’ to places and to people who might not otherwise come to MADD,” Otte said. “It’s so important for us to educate and raise awareness so people will make a plan. If they find themselves in situations where they did not make a plan, the message reminds them they can still make the right choice and not get behind the wheel by using rideshare, calling a non-drinking friend or taking public transportation.”
Within the next six years, technology could take the decision to drive impaired out of the hands of drivers. On November 15, President Joe Biden signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that included a provision that will lead to drunk driving prevention technology on all new vehicles. The provision, first introduced by Congresswoman Debbie Dingell of Michigan in honor of the five Abbas family members killed by a wrong-way drunk driver on January 6, 2019, requires the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to spend the next two to three years setting the standard for impaired driving prevention technology on all new cars. The legislation was championed by MADD and supported by Anheuser-Busch, the Beer Institute, 13 major auto insurance companies, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, National Safety Council, Governors Highway Safety Association, Center for Auto Safety, and the Distilled Spirits Council and Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility.
About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD has helped to save more than 400,000 lives, reduce drunk driving deaths by more than 50 percent and promote designating a non-drinking driver. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® calls for law enforcement support, ignition interlocks for all offenders and advanced vehicle technology. MADD has provided supportive services to nearly one million drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP. Visit www.madd.org or call 1-877-ASK-MADD.