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MADD’s “Power of Parents Handbook” Helps Parents In the Fight Against Underage Drinking and Impaired Driving

MADD and Penn State show evidence of impact when parents use the handbook to engage with their teens.

[Irving, TX] April 15, 2024 — The Power of Parents Handbook developed by Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) and Robert Turrisi, Ph.D., Professor of Biobehavioral Health and Prevention Research Center at Penn State, is helping to equip parents, guardians and caring adults to have lifesaving conversations with the youth in their lives.

According to a five-year evaluation of the handbook by Turrisi, Penn State graduate student Shannon Glenn, and their team, supported by funding from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, when parents utilized the Power of Parents Handbook strategies, their teens declined more rides from a driver that consumed alcohol or any drug other than alcohol, and they were less likely to drive impaired.

“My collaborative effort with MADD on the Power of Parents is easily the most significant highlight of my career. Being able to make a difference in the lives of so many families is such a great privilege and honor. MADD has made that happen for me and I will be forever grateful,” said Dr. Turrisi. “However, our work is never done and we must continue to put in our best efforts every day to reduce the harms caused by the misuse of alcohol and other drugs.”

“Empowering parents, guardians and caring adults to have ongoing and intentional conversations with their youth about the dangers and consequences of underage substance use is critical in our mission to end impaired driving for good,” said MADD CEO Stacey D. Stewart. “We owe immense gratitude to Dr. Turrisi for his invaluable contributions and unwavering dedication to our mission. His passion and tireless efforts have been instrumental in advancing MADD’s cause, and we are truly honored to have him championing our work.”

Underage drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths each year and can lead to early addiction as well as many other dangerous outcomes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Kids who start drinking young are seven times more likely to be in an alcohol-related crash. In addition, motor vehicle traffic crashes are a leading cause of death for 15- to 20-year-olds, according to NHTSA. Although people under 21 are legally prohibited from drinking alcohol, in 2021 — the latest available data — 27% of young drivers represented in this group who were killed in traffic crashes had alcohol present in their system.

Research also shows that teens who do NOT drink alcohol until they are 21 are 85% less likely to become a drunk driver later in life than those who drink before age 14.

In addition, numerous studies show that kids say their parents are the leading influence on their decisions about drinking. MADD’s evidence-based Power of Parents program, sponsored by Nationwide Insurance, informs, motivates and empowers parents, guardians and caring adults of middle and high school students to have critical, lifesaving and ongoing conversations about the dangers and consequences of underage drinking and other drug use.

“We remain grateful to Nationwide for their long-standing commitment to MADD’s mission. This program truly would not have been possible without their support,” said Stewart.

“Nationwide is proud of our long-standing collaboration with MADD on their Power of Parents program, supporting efforts to empower parents and guardians to have conversations about underage alcohol use with their teens,” said MADD National Board Member Natalie Furniss, lead legal counsel for Nationwide’s property and casualty business. “As a company dedicated to protecting individuals, businesses and futures with extraordinary care, there’s no greater alignment with our values than supporting the safety of drivers and passengers on our nation’s roadways.”

In observation of Alcohol Awareness Month in April and Teen Driver Safety Month in May, MADD recognizes that this time of year presents multiple milestones such as prom, graduation and the start of summer break that may bring an increased presence of alcohol and other drugs for teens and young adults under 21. During this time, MADD staff and volunteers across the country will host events in their communities and online to provide resources and information to parents about the dangers of underage drinking and drug use. Parents can download free Power of Parents handbooks for parents of middle school and high school students at www.madd.org/powerofparents.

About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nonprofit leader in a movement to create a world where there are #NoMoreVictims of impaired driving. By working in collaboration with law enforcement to end underage drinking and all drunk and drugged driving, MADD has helped reduce drunk driving deaths by more than 50%, saving more than 400,000 lives. The organization is a vocal advocate for tougher sentencing, new laws and new technology, including the implementation of the Halt Act. MADD also has provided supportive services to nearly one million victims of drunk and drugged driving at no charge through local victim advocates and its 24-Hour Victim Help Line: 1-877-MADD-HELP. For more information or to make a donation, visit us at https://madd.org/ and follow MADD on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

About Nationwide®
Nationwide, a Fortune 100 company based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the United States. Nationwide is rated A+ by both A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s. An industry leader in driving customer-focused innovation, Nationwide offers a full range of insurance and financial services across the country. Including car, motorcycle, homeowners, pet, farm, life and commercial insurance. As well as annuities, mutual funds, retirement plans and specialty health services. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


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