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Mothers Against Drunk Driving - Essay Example

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The interest group I have chosen is MADD, better know as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. I felt this was an important interest group, and also that it has had quite an effect on legislature, public opinion on the issue, and ultimately did what all interest groups set out to do, make a difference in the individuals effected by the issue they protect or stand against.
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Mothers Against Drunk Driving
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Mothers Against Drunk Driving

She then went on to found MADD in May 1980. Now MADD has over 600 chapters and 2 million members and supporters (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mothers_Against_Drunk_Driving#History).
This interest group, which according to the website is made up of "dads and daughters, sons and uncles, friends and neighbors, and mothers"( http://www.madd.org/) has worked very hard over the years to help reduce the number of fatalities involving people who drink and drive. Starting just two years later in 1982, MADD helped pushed for a resolution for the first national Drunk and Drugged Driving Awareness Week to become law. By the end of this second year, MADD has already expanded into over 100 chapters. By the end of their third year, the government reported that 129 new anti-drunk driving laws had been passed (http://www.madd.org/aboutus/1179).
The success story for MADD only continues as The Federal Minimum Drinking Age Law was signed by Ronald Regan on July 17,1984. By the end of 1984, MADD had expanded into Canada, and now had more than 330 chapters in 47 states.
Just a few years later, in 1988, MADD helped push for another law, the Omnibus Anti-Drug Abuse Act, which extended the same right of other crime victims to the victims of DWI. Also, by the end of 1988, all 50 states had signed the federal bill, making the minimum drinking age throughout the county 21.
All of MADD's grass roots style of work has only continued to expand through out the years. Because of the hard work of the organization, the numbers of drinking while driving deaths has decreased from the 1980s. Following statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), alcohol related deaths per year have declined from 26,173 in 1982 to 16,885 in 2005(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mothers_Against_Drunk_Driving#History). This is a significant decrease in the number of deaths caused by drunk driving, and the numbers alone help show how much work MADD has done, and how greatly it had effected out society. By the hard work, telecommunications, and fighting for their loved ones, the people of MADD have been able to become, what they call a "non-profit grass roots organization with more than 400 entities nationwide" (http://www.madd.org/aboutus/1094).
Recently, MADD has announced a new, national, campaign to end drunk driving. With a combination of new, stronger laws, and advanced technology, MADD hopes it can continue its battle against drunk driving into the future, and keep drunk drivers off the road. The new MADD campaign may seem extreme to some, but it has decided that it wants to "completely" get rid of drunk driving ( http://www.madd.org/campaign).

Even thought MADD has seen its share of victories, there is some contempt for the group.
The founder of MADD, Candy Lightner, left the organization in 1985 and has since then gone on to criticize what the group has become. She has called the group "new-prohibitionists", and that is worries to much about the problems of alcohol, and is not focused on specifically drunk driving, as was her original intent (Bresnahan).
Writer Radley Balko says that, "In fairness, MADD deserves credit for raising awareness of the dangers of driving while intoxicated. It was almost certainly MADD's dogged efforts to spark public debate that affected the drop in fatalities since 1980, when Candy Lightner founded the group ... Read More
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