MADD Opens 2012 National Conference in D.C.
Yesterday marked the first day of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s (MADD’s) 2012 National Conference in Washington, DC. The theme of this year’s conference is Steps to a Safer Nation.
The conference kicked off with the National Victim/Survivor Tribute Celebration of Life, where attendees assembled to remember, honor, and celebrate the lives of loved ones killed or injured in drunk driving crashes. The tearful event was a powerful reminder that drunk driving touches the lives of more than the 10,228 people killed and approximately 350,000 people injured in 2010 alone. Countless families and friends mourn these victims.
On Thursday more than 300 passionate drunk driving victims and survivors spent the day at the U.S. Capitol for legislative meetings urging Congressional action on two important measures: full funding for priority highway safety programs, and passage of a Constitutional Amendment providing for crime victims’ rights.
As part of the federal surface transportation legislation (MAP-21), Congress streamlined the nation’s priority highway safety grant programs into the new Section 405. However, the Continuing Resolution (CR) recently passed by Congress does not contain the full $265 million in annual funding to implement this new program, which includes drunk driving prevention.
Additionally, MADD is urging Congress to pass a Constitutional Amendment providing for crime victims’ rights. Currently, victims are often denied basic rights, like being informed of court proceedings and developments in their case. They can also be denied the right to be present in the courtroom or to make a victim impact statement.
The final two days of the conference will be spent providing educational sessions on such topics as ignition interlocks, volunteer management, and support to victims/survivors of drunk driving crashes. These workshops are geared toward MADD volunteers and law enforcement officers who work each and every day to eliminate drunk driving.