Introduction to Organizations to Stop Drinking and Driving

Drinking and driving in the United States is a national problem that many people would view as an issue that is spiraling out of control. There are multiple groups in the United States that are dedicated to helping the issue of drinking and driving, either through more education or outreach programs. A few of the well-known programs include: Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), and Doctors for Designated Drivers (DFDD). Even though these programs are independently driven, they are trying to make driving on the road safer by reducing the amount of impaired drivers who are on the road.

Interesting Statistics and Facts for Drinking and Driving

While most people who are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not thinking about the consequences of their actions, they are more likely to focus on the legal ramifications of their actions than the devastation an accident could cause for others around them. In 2010 alone there were over 1.41 million people arrested for drinking and driving over the legal limit.[i] Evidently, millions of people drink and then do not even second guess driving themselves after. This is either because they were too intoxicated to realize the poor decision making skills at hand, or they were unaware of how high their blood alcohol concentration had reached. Either way, millions of people are driving on the road every year under the influence of alcohol and doing so without any regard to the other drivers on the road. Also – the 1.41 million people who were pulled over in 2010 only accounts for those who were actually pulled over. There were probably thousands more driving around without any consequences.

statistics regarding organizations to stop drinking and drivingSome other factors that go into who is more likely to drink and drive include gender, age, and previous DUI convictions. Males are more likely to drive under the influence than females are.[ii] However that has been a changing trend. Over the past decade the number of females who drink and drive has increased thirty six percent.[iii] Another factor for who is more likely to drive and drive are people between the ages of twenty-one and twenty-five.[iv] As people pass this age group, the likelihood that a person will drink and drive goes down steadily as the age increases. A scary statistic states that people who have been previously convicted of a DUI are fifty to seventy-five percent more likely to continue drinking and driving.[v] This is true even after having their license suspended.

On average, every day, twenty-eight people die from motor vehicle related deaths which are caused by drinking and driving.[vi] Twenty-eight percent of all fatal motorcycle crashes were alcohol related as well.[vii] Twenty-three percent of fatal passenger car accidents had alcohol as a contributing factor.[viii] Of these devastating statistics, thirty four percent of all fatal accidents where drivers between the ages of twenty-one and twenty four.[ix] Probably the saddest fact of all is that motor vehicle accidents are the number one killer of teenagers in the United States, and one third of those deaths had alcohol as a contributing factor.[x]

Organizations Created to Put an end to Drinking and Driving

As previously mentioned, there are many independently organized groups that have a central goal of reducing the amount of accidents caused by drinking and driving. A few of the well-known programs include: Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), and Doctors for Designated Drivers (DFDD).

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is a nonprofit organization, that has groups in the United States and Canada, that seeks to make a difference in the world by putting a stop to drinking and driving.[xi] The organization also provides support to those who have been affected by drunk driving and they try to prevent underage drinking.[xii] There is at least one office in every state in the United States, and each office provides a range of services to the public on top of the work the organization does for policy chances to drinking and driving laws.[xiii]

madd as one of the organizations to stop drinking and drivingEven though Mothers Against Drunk Driving is a nonprofit organization they receive federal funding from the government.[xiv] In 2000, the organization received about $56,000 and between the years 2001 and 2006 the organization received about $9,000,000.[xv] The organization utilizes telemarketers to raise funds for the organization as well. In 1994 the organization made $38 million from that source of funding alone.[xvi]

One thing that Mothers Against Drunk Driving is known for is their victim impact panels. The purpose of this type of panel is to not only help the victims heal by telling their story, but allow DUI offenders to have more empathy toward the destruction their actions have caused.[xvii] At these panels, the victim will speak to the group about the crash. The crash will have either caused the victim’s injuries directly, or caused injuries to one of the victim’s loved ones.[xviii] The panel will discuss how the accident affected their lives immediately and how it still affects them today. The ability to speak to a group about the devastating event they went through is a great way to give people direct knowledge about how drinking and driving can affect everyone around them – not just the driver.

Students Against Destructive Decisions

students against destructive decisions as one of the organizations to stop drinking and drivingAnother organization that has been created to help combat the issue of drinking and driving is the organization Students Against Destructive Decisions. This organization is targeted at helping students make better decisions – especially about drinking and driving.[xix] The organization began targeted at helping with drinking and driving, but has more recently expanded to include issues like preventing drug use, risky and impaired driving, and other destructive activities.[xx] The organization has been active for 35 years and has spread all across the country.[xxi]

The age group that this organization targets the most are teenagers. Considering that car accidents are the number one killer of teens, it is a smart move to have an organization dedicated to educating these teens to make better decisions. Hopefully with time, the number one killer of teens will no longer be car accidents. The organization tries to help teens by empowering them to make better decisions.[xxii] By providing education and peer counseling, the organization helps teens find their inner voice to make better decisions and stay safe.[xxiii] Even though Students Against Destructive Decisions focuses primarily on traffic safety, the organization also offers services to help teens with substance abuse, depression, suicidal thoughts, teen violence, and bullying.

Doctors for Designated Driving

This organization is relatively new, as it was created in 2005 by a medical student at Columbia University.[xxiv] The creation of this organization was to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving and promote the use of a designated driver. [xxv] A designated driver is a person who has elected to not drink any alcohol and provide rides home to friends who will be drinking at the event or party. One of the initial goals of the organization was to encourage businesses to give free, non-alcoholic drinks to people who were acting as designed drivers for their group of friends.[xxvi] This would be used to help give some incentive for those who are going to avoid drinking so that their friends could and everyone would remain safe. There is a business by the name of Tampa Bay Buccaneers that had enacted such a protocol, but hopefully this business is not the last. The organization has reached out to many businesses in an attempt to spread the use of this idea.

The goal of the organization is to make the designated driver a standard part of society that is more commonly used.[xxvii] Each year over 73,000,000 Americans either serve as the designated driver or have been driven home by one.[xxviii] The use of a designated driver gives the message that drinking in social settings is still okay, you just have to be smart about it – and drinking and driving is not a smart choice. Also, the use of a designated driver is a free option for people. Depending on where someone lives, taking a cab or UBER home can be expensive and a person under the influence of alcohol may think it is not worth the extra money to have someone drive them home, so they drive themselves. While designated drivers will not fully prevent drinking and driving, it could dramatically decrease the number of devastating accidents.  Speak with an experienced DUI attorney in Phoenix Arizona for more information.

Conclusion to Organizations to Stop Drinking and Driving

Drinking and driving can lead to devastating accidents that affect not only the people involved in the accident, but their loved ones as well. The statistics and facts about drinking and driving in the United States is rather startling. Between 50 to 75 percent of convicted driving on a suspended license.[xxix] Every two minutes, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash.[xxx] On average, two in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime.[xxxi] The only thing that will help a person sober up – is time. A cold shower, coffee, bread – none of that will make a difference. Only the person’s metabolism will be able to process the alcohol through the body and there is just no way to speed that up.

There are currently dozens of programs and organizations in the United States to try and combat such a terrible problem. A few of the well-known programs include: Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), and Doctors for Designated Drivers (DFDD). While these organizations all have different objectives and goals, the overarching goal that these groups, and many more share, is to make the roads

[i] See How Big is the Drunk Driving Problem? SR22 Insurance. (Accessed May 17, 2016). http://www.sr22insurance.net/drunk-driving-statistics-how-big-is-the-problem/

[ii] Id.

[iii] Id.

[iv] Id.

[v] Id.

[vi] Id.

[vii] Id.

[viii] Id.

[ix] Id.

[x] Id.

[xi] See Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia. (Accessed May 18, 2016). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mothers_Against_Drunk_Driving

[xii] Id.

[xiii] Id.

[xiv] Id.

[xv] Id.

[xvi] See Dial America. MADD No More Victims. (Accessed May 18, 2016). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mothers_Against_Drunk_Driving

[xvii] See Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Victim Impact Panels. MADD No More Victims. (Accessed May 18, 2016). http://www.madd.org/victim-impact-panels/

[xviii] Id.

[xix] See Empowering Teens Through Peer-to-Peer Education. SADD Students Against Destructive Decisions. (Accessed May 18, 2016). http://www.sadd.org/

[xx] Id.

[xxi] Id.

[xxii] Id.

[xxiii] Id.

[xxiv] See Doctors for Designated Driving. Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. (Published January 31, 2005). http://www.drugfree.org/join-together/doctors-for-designated-driving/

[xxv] Id.

[xxvi] Id.

[xxvii] Id.

[xxviii] See Doctors for Designated Driving. Alcohol Problems and Solutions. (Accessed May 18, 2016). http://www.alcoholproblemsandsolutions.org/DrivingIssues/1093628753.html

[xxix] See Drunk Driving Statistics. MADD No More Victims. (Accessed May 18, 2016). http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/about/drunk-driving-statistics.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

[xxx] Id.

[xxxi] Id.