WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is teaming up with law enforcement agencies across the country throughout the month of December, which has been recognized as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month for the 39th consecutive year.
During this month in 2018, 839 people died in alcohol-related crashes, representing 29 percent of all traffic deaths, according the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve were especially dangerous, when drunk driving crashes claimed 108 lives in just two days, accounting for nearly half of all vehicle fatalities.
Christmas Day also was deadly, when drunk driving killed 35 people.
“This is shocking and staggering,” said MADD National President Helen Witty, whose 16-year-old daughter Helen Marie was killed by an alcohol- and marijuana-impaired driver. “The pain caused by one person’s choice to drive impaired is often permanent. Yet every drunk driving death and injury is preventable.”
Drunk driving crashes increase throughout the month of December as more people travel and attend events where alcohol is served. That is why MADD reminds everyone to plan for a safe ride home before they go out. MADD also stands with our law enforcement heroes who are out there risking their own lives to keep the roads safe this month and throughout the year.
“There is no excuse for driving under the influence of any mind-altering substance, including alcohol,” Witty said. “Please, designate a non-drinking, unimpaired driver. Call a taxi or a rideshare service. Take public transportation. It’s that easy. And it could save a life – your own or someone you know.”
Every U.S. President since Ronald Reagan has proclaimed December National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. President Donald Trump continued in that tradition this month, reaffirming his administration’s commitment to prevent tragedies by making the decision to drive sober.
The proclamation also remembers victims of impaired driving, offers prayers for grieving families impacted by these tragedies and honors law enforcement who are on the front lines of the violent, preventable crime of impaired driving.
MADD is asking everyone to show their commitment to drive sober by choosing a non-drinking, designated driver and displaying a MADD Tie One On for Safety red ribbon or magnetic decal on their vehicles, which are available at local MADD offices around the country. Started in 1986, TOOFS is MADD’s longest-running and most visible public awareness campaign.
“Whether you’re traveling to holiday festivities or hosting a party, always remember your designated driver,” Witty said. “Everyone can help keep our holiday season joyous by planning ahead when celebrations include alcohol. Take personal responsibility for your own travel by choosing a non-drinking, unimpaired driver and remember to include festive drinks such as mocktails for the designated drivers who are guests in your home.”
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 over 390,000 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.