The Legislative Agenda

According to MADD, drunk driving is a violent crime. One of its rallying slogans is, ''Murder by Car Is Still Murder!'' Over the years, MADD members have worked to generate public support for passage of stricter drunk-driving legislation, punitive sanctions, and more consistent enforcement measures aimed at deterring drunk driving. In the 1980s, intense lobbying efforts were undertaken for the passage of laws making twenty-one the minimum legal age for drinking (now in force in all 50 states). The group believes that this measure has saved thousands of young lives that would have been lost in drunk-driving crashes.

MADD has also lobbied for changes in judicial procedures that would make the system more responsive to victims of drunk driving. For example, in many states victims had been barred from the courtroom during the trial of their own drunk-driv ing cases, because their testimony (or even their presence) might prejudice the jury. Owing to the efforts of MADD and other groups, victims' rights bills have now been passed in all states. These ensure that victims will be notified about court hearings and, in most states, allowed to testify about the impact of the crime on their lives. Other lobbying efforts have sought to close legal loopholes that drunk drivers were using to avoid punishment. For example, drivers might have refused to take a breath or blood test for intoxication and have been allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge. In other cases, drivers were allowed to claim that despite their high blood-alcohol content (BAC), their driving was not really impaired.

MADD has been instrumental in the passage of over 1,000 tougher drunk-driving laws that close these loopholes and institute other deterrence measures, such as mandatory jail sentences for drunk drivers. MADD also supports efforts to require offenders to undergo treatment for alcoholism and/or drug dependency, if this is deemed necessary.

Alcohol No More

Alcohol No More

Do you love a drink from time to time? A lot of us do, often when socializing with acquaintances and loved ones. Drinking may be beneficial or harmful, depending upon your age and health status, and, naturally, how much you drink.

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