Mothers Against Drunk Driving: What You Don't Know

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) started as a grassroots movement and has turned into a massive nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating drunk driving, fighting drugged driving, supporting victims of these crimes, and preventing underage drinking. MADD helped reduce drinking and driving deaths by half since its founding in 1980. It was founded by Candy Lightner, a mother who lost her 13-year-old daughter, Cari, when she was struck by a multiple repeat offending drunk driver.


Cari Lightner

The impact MADD has had on drunk driving laws

Before MADD was founded, driving under the influence was not seen as that serious of an offense. That is no longer the case. MADD has been the driving force behind multiple laws aimed to prevent DUIs. Below are some of their accomplishments:

  • The drinking age in all US states was raised to 21 by 1988.
  • In 1989, MADD created Victim Impact Panels where victims of drunk and/or drugged drivers share their stories in hopes of swaying those who have driven under the influence from doing so again. Judges often require someone convicted of a DUI to attend a Victim Impact Panel as part of their probation terms.
  • By 1998, all states made it illegal for drunk drivers under the age of 21 to have any amount of alcohol in their system.
  • .08 BAC was the alcohol limit in all states by 2004 (Utah has it even lower at .05!)
  • All states have some sort of law requiring ignition interlocks for drunk drivers.

Ways you can help prevent drinking and driving

There are simple ways to help prevent drinking and driving. Before going out drinking with friends, make sure someone is the designated driver (DD). If everyone wants to go out and drink, make sure you take an Uber, Lyft, taxi, or some form of public transportation; no one needs to drive. Make your friend spend the night at your place, or vice versa, instead of driving home if they or you have been drinking. Take a look at the table below; your friend might not be as sober as they think!

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BAC Levels and Related Effects


*Information pulled from Center for Disease Control (CDC) website found here.

Michigan Drunk Driving Charges

According to Michigan law, an OWI can be charged when an impaired person (for alcohol: a BAC of .08 or higher) puts the vehicle in a position posing a significant risk of causing a collision (i.e. if the engine is on and if the vehicle is in gear). Usually this involves driving your car on the road, but you can also get an OWI simply by sitting in your parked car. According toMADD’s state ranking system, Michigan is the 6th lowest ranked state in the nation regarding drunk driving legislation based on 2016 data. To improve this ranking, the state of Michigan needs to:

  • pass an all-offender ignition interlock law with compliance-based removal,
  • legalize sobriety checkpoints and ensure they are conducted at least monthly,
  • make ignition interlocks available to first offenders upon arrest,
  • enact a law making child endangerment a felony, and more.


Drunk driving is an incredibly serious charge that can not only ruin your life, but take the life of someone else. By hiring adedicated and knowledgeable OWI attorney, your chances of returning to a normal life and getting sober post-arrest significantly increase.

If you want to get involved with MADD, visit their website for more information.