Mothers Against Drunk Driving
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Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is, rather clearly, a group of mad mothers against drunk driving. They were founded in 1980 and their early efforts were aimed toward public education about drunk driving, undoubtedly a good cause. Over time, however, they began to take an ultracrepidarian prohibitionist stance on alcohol in general.
Candace Lightner, the distraught mother of a victim of a drunk driver, founded MADD in 1980. In its first few years, MADD lobbied states to pass stricter laws and educated the public on the dangers of impaired driving. Thanks to MADD's initial campaign, all 50 states enacted effective DUI laws (although those in Wisconsin remain somewhat more lax than the rest of the country) and impaired/drunk driving was recognized as a serious social issue. Largely due to MADD's work, deaths dropped from about 28,000 in 1980 to about 11,700 in 2008.
Shift in focus
After their initial campaign set DUI legislation into motion, they turned their attention to a nationwide campaign in the United States to raise the legal drinking age to 21, which was successful by the middle of the 1980s. What this had to do with actual drunk driving is anyone's guess. They also subtly shifted their framing from campaigning against "drunk driving" (as in, above a legal blood alcohol limit) to "drinking and driving" (as in, any form of alcohol consumption prior to driving). This change caused the founder, Lightner, to resign in protest in 1985, and marked a departure from MADD's initial goals.
They have since taken on even more rigid and ridiculous positions which (much like PETA) have caused the group's influence to stagnate and their reputation to turn into what reads like a sick joke:
- Demanding the increase of the legal driving age to 18 (presumably to catch up with the increased drinking age that they're responsible for).
- Demanding the institution of progressively less restrictive learners' permits for new drivers, but ending the practice of issuing one-year learners' permits at (depending on the state) age 15 or 16 - they want the minimum age raised to 18.
- Demanding laws prohibiting drivers under 21 from carrying passengers under 21, or from driving without somebody 21 or over in the car to supervise.
- Demanding a "zero tolerance" view of underage drinking, such as criminal prosecution of parents who serve a glass of wine to an 18, 19 or 20 year old at dinner.
- Demanding ignition interlocks for all drivers who've ever been convicted of DWI/DUI.
- Opposing any attempts to return the drinking age to 18 (the legal age of majority in the United States for joining the military (or being drafted), voting, and nearly everything else, as well as the drinking age in nearly every country in the world). Actually this isn't quite accurate: MADD gives this issue the "this isn't even up for debate because it legitimizes their view" treatment.
- Issuing a press release denouncing the video game Grand Theft Auto IV, because it allows players to drink and drive (even though the game made it impossible to drive well by actually simulating some of the real-life effects of alcohol, which seems like a good thing for MADD's agenda).
- Supporting random police roadblocks and sobriety checkpoints.
What any of the above tripe has to do with drunk driving is presumably left to the imagination.
- Clean living movement
- Concerned Women for America
- Parents Music Resource Center
- REAL ID Act - why do Americans need an "ID card" in the first place? MADD's 1980s campaign to raise the drinking age and demand 100% "carding" of everyone buying alcohol is a big reason. Before 1985 there were several states that didn't even have photos on drivers' licenses.
- Women's Christian Temperance Union
- War on Drugs
- Time "Man" of the Year 1985 (See bottom of page and next page)
- CDC Report on Impaired Driving
- Though due to different levels of tolerance, it is possible to be driving impaired while still below the legal limit.
- MADD's Positions on Youth
- Underage drinking: why you should care
- Sober to Start
- Lowering the Drinking Age is Not the Answer, as written on the MADD blog
- MADD Attacks 'Grand Theft Auto IV'
- Support our Heroes:Sobriety checkpoints