Causing over 3,330 deaths in both 2011 and 2012, distracted driving is quickly becoming the new drunk driving, making some people wonder if Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) should also take on distracted driving, and not just because they already have the acronym.
MADD has been highly successful at decreasing drunk driving throughout the nation. According to MADD, drunk driving-related deaths have decreased by 50% since the organization’s founding in 1980. Since the organization launched their Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving in 2006, drunk driving deaths have decreased by 23%, 20 states now require all convicted drunk drivers to install an ignition interlock in their vehicles, all 50 states have some form of ignition interlock law, and states with all-offender interlock laws have decreased DUI deaths by at least 30%
Because of the organization’s experience with preventing underage drinking, MADD could also be successful at preventing teens from using cell phones and electronic devices while driving. Teens are the age group most guilty of distracted driving. According to Distraction.gov, 11% of all drivers under the age of 20 who were involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time of the crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) further reports that 21% of those drivers were distracted by their cell phones.
MADD already offers guidelines for how to talk to your kids about drunk driving, so the organization could easily adapt their advice to address distracted driving, especially texting or talking on the phone while driving. While AT&T’s campaign It Can Wait works toward eliminating texting and driving among teen drivers, we still need an organization that addresses both teens and adults because, let’s face it, adults text and drive, too.
Then again, drunk driving is still an epidemic in the U.S. and could use MADD’s full attention, especially as the organization continuously works toward encouraging states to pass all-offender interlock laws.
What do you think: Should MADD take on distracted driving or stay fully focused on drunk driving?