Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) has issued a concerning projection that drunk driving deaths could experience a staggering 40% increase during the upcoming Labor Day Weekend. This worrying estimate is based on the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This potential surge adds to an existing 27% year-round rise in deaths attributed to drunk driving since 2018. Shockingly, statistics reveal that on average, someone in the United States becomes a victim of a drunk driving crash every 79 seconds.
The somber toll of this issue was further emphasized by the tragic toll in 2021, where Texas alone witnessed the loss of 1,134 lives and 2,565 individuals being gravely injured due to drunk driving incidents.
To combat this disheartening trend, MADD is actively collaborating with law enforcement agencies across Texas to encourage vigilant driving stops and heightened patrols. Such efforts have shown the potential to lower drunk driving deaths by up to 20%, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These endeavors align with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) ongoing "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign.
MADD's national president, Tess Rowland, a survivor of a severe injury caused by a drunk driver in 2021, emphasizes, "Over Labor Day weekend, drunk driving causes roughly 41% of traffic fatalities. This is a 100% preventable crime, and ending it is key to ensuring that the fun lasts long after summer ends."
This year, MADD is shining a spotlight on the perils of all forms of impaired driving, encompassing not only drunk and drugged driving but also the dangerous practice of using multiple substances, known as "poly use." The organization points to mounting state and academic evidence illustrating that even experienced cannabis users can suffer impaired driving abilities, posing risks even over short distances.
Stacey D. Stewart, MADD CEO, underscores, "There is no good reason to risk the serious consequences associated with impaired driving, most notably hurting or even killing yourself or someone else. We want everyone to have a good time, and that means choosing not to drive if there’s a chance you’re impaired."
In Texas, MADD is intensifying efforts to arm the public with essential information and actionable advice to combat drunk driving. With funding from the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) and The Take the Wheel Initiative, MADD is forging partnerships with local police departments to bolster high-visibility DWI enforcement. The organization also encourages individuals to proactively arrange for a designated driver or utilize alternatives such as taxis, rideshare services, or public transit to ensure their safety and the safety of others on the road.
If you, or someone you love, has been the victim of impaired driving, support is available at no cost 24 hours a day via the MADD Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP (1-877-623-3435) or www.MADD.org.