Driving While Drunk Might Be Fun for Some, but Not Until They Know About the Dangers of Impairment
Presentation by Tara Spohrer
A lot of people already know that driving while under the influence of alcohol isn't a good combination - however, despite the possible damage that it will cause their lives, many still do it even until this very day.
You might presume that the number of drunk driving crashes should be lower than before as we have been on lockdown for the last couple of years due to the spread of COVID-19. But unfortunately, according to NHTSA’s recent report, it is the complete opposite as the numbers have increased in 2020. Vehicle miles traveled decreased 11%, yet drunk driving fatalities increased 14% year-over-year.
“It’s the worst it's been since 2008, we are going backward in opposite directions. So the need is critical more so than ever.” - Tara Spohrer
The injuries and deaths that this has caused are very alarming but there is one way to put an end to this. Tara Spohrer, who is the Regional Development Director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, talked about their organization and how they respond to drunk or drugged driving. Not only that, but she also gave an overview of the services that they provide for those individuals that need guidance and support after they have been victimized.
What is MADD?
MADD is an active organization that has been running since the 1980s. Its mission is to help end drunk driving, fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes, and prevent underage drinking.
Tara also stated that the frontline of their mission is their wonderful community partners in law enforcement. They strongly work to support and engage with advocacy efforts and legislative efforts to make sure that they are moving the ball forward and not moving backward.
“We are a presence, we are a resource for the community, and we want people to know we're here and to reach out with anything that they need.”
Tara mentioned some of their “important pillars” or the services that help them solve the problems of drunk driving.
Their organization has victim services where they provide free support to any victims and survivors for as long as they need them. May it be one-on-one group support, court, or accompaniment. “We are here to advise, guide, and offer them support”, she added.
They also believe that education is very critical, thus, they give parents the opportunity to take part in research-based education programs so that they could gain the right knowledge about drunk driving and what may be its possible consequences. This will help them guide their children more into a safer future.
Moreover, they also have this program called Power of Parents where they provide parents tools and tips in order to help them create a meaningful discussion about the dangers and consequences of underage drinking with their child. This program is also one way to help their child make smarter and safer choices.
Another program that they have is Power of You(th). This is where children are given the opportunity to learn more about the dangers of underage drinking and marijuana use. They are also given tools for them to be able to resist peer pressure. This also gives them the empowerment to influence their peers to make the right choices.
Tara said that they offer corporate partnership opportunities where companies and organizations can earn points and recognition throughout the year for anything they do with them. These are some example activities that were mentioned:
- Sharing their organization across social media platforms
- Volunteering at their events
- Inviting them to Lunch and Learns
MADD invites everyone to join their upcoming events in the following months. All information about their events will be stated on their website.
- New Jersey’s Walk Like MADD (Saturday, May 21st in Saddle River County Park)
- Brand New Golf Outing (Monday, August 29th)
There are two things that we have to remember from this talk.
First, The Youth is the future as they have the willingness to learn and act on the good. Therefore, it is very important for the parents to start educating their children early regarding this matter. When children are knowledgeable about the negative effects of consuming drugs and alcohol, there is more they will do to avoid them.
“Youth is the future. I think we all have to be cognizant that we are helping, not just ourselves, but helping everybody around us. You can control what you do. You can't control what others do and the way to be able to mitigate that is to really be sure that you're aware of what you're doing.”
Second, it is true that actions speak louder than words. As Tara and Jeannie stated in this talk, it is better if you lead by example because when people see you doing good acts, it is more likely for them to also do so.
If there is someone you know that needs help and support, you can contact MADD’s national office helpline at 877-MADD-HELP (1-877-623-3435). Feel free to reach out to them anytime you need as they are always ready to take action 24/7.
- A Drunk-Driving Victim to A Living Legacy: The Steven Benvenisti Story
- Programs to Reduce Alcohol-Impaired Driving