Mothers Against Drunk Driving or perhaps better known by the acronym MADD was initially formed in 1980 by Candace Lightner after her daughter, then only 13 years old, Cari was killed by a repeat offender of drunk driving. In fact, it was his fifth drunk driving offence in four years and was actually out on bail from a previous drunk driving offence. Upon learning that the offender, would serve no prison time, Candace, although enraged and dismayed became determined to stop drunk driving and got to work in forming the organization that was called Mothers Against Drunk Driving. She was later joined by Cindi Lamb, whose five- year old daughter, Laura was seriously injured in a car crash and was left as the youngest quadriplegic.
Candace started her crusade against drunk driving in California and was joined by Cindi in October of 1980. The first press conference was held on Capitol Hill when the nation soon became enthralled at the seemingly very tragic tale of two very distraught angry but determined mothers. The Lambs had begun an extensive campaign of letter-writing to judges, lawyers and law enforcement officials or to almost anyone in authority. The media got a hold of the story of Laura that eventually led to the national press conference in Washington D.C.
The nation was riveted during a national press conference on Capitol and an almost seismic shift occurred, as chords were struck deep in in the fabric of society. A wildfire was started with exposure in all forms of media across the country that eventually led to the Uniform Drinking Act being signed into law, by then President Ronald Regean on July 17th of 1984.
The mission of MADD is simple: To stop Drunk Driving and support victims of this violent crime and to prevent underage drinking. Today MADD is one of the better known charitable organizations with perhaps one one the greatest success stories of any grassroots organizations in history. The mission has now been expanded to include prevention of underage drinking. These efforts have been supported and encouraged by the corporations, the media, government and educators. Throughout the early years, when drinking and driving was viewed as acceptable, it was quite a challenge to take on a very powerful industry where profits were seen to be more important than safety and politicians who were aware of the statistics but still remained inactive. MADD has blazed a trail that other organizations have followed. The expansion has not been easy but it is quite extensive.
MADD is active in all 50 States in the U.S. with advocates who assist victims and survivors of drunken driving accidents. The success is measured by the number of people that use the services and unfortunately, the trend is increasing. A number of corporate sponsors are now supporting the programs that have saved over 300000 lives. Corporations include the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Insurance companies such as Statewide. The American Medical Association and The Parent teachers Association are also backers.
MADD through it’s now extensive network has developed the capacity to create and affect change. The Campaign has led to laws being enacted that have reduced fatalities from drunken driving accidents. Positive and long-standing relationships with government at different levels can continue to lead the development of new laws to protect American families.