MADD Essay

I would like to start by saying that the M.A.D.D. stands for Mothers Against Drunk Driving had be organized for the sole purpose of reduce the number of incidents involving alcohol and driving by their sons, typically high school students and to a lesser degree university students. In the following essay I will speak about some of the M.A.D.D. videos commenting on their role in the society, the mass media and by using some literature on the M.A.D.D. I will point out my personal opinion together with the educated findings on the M.A.D.D.

Making existing drunk driving laws more strict. For instance M.A.D.D. wants to make illegal blood alcohol content of 0.08 or lower. Those who violate the norm will be sanctioned and punished for DUI as well as will be required to undergo treatment for alcoholism and other related alcohol abuse issues, and driver’s license suspensions.

Assisting the victims of drunk driving by providing them with the rehabilitation treatment in dedicated facilities (Hays, 2005). Hays (2005) also notes that while assisting the victims of drunk driving, M.A.D.D. assures that these people are never forgotten and once they recover, they start themselves to promote M.A.D.D. videos aimed at drivers.

Prohibition to consume alcohol to minors under 21 years of age with no exception to religion, health or any other reasons. Currently there are laws governing possession and purchasing of alcohol, yet no laws governing consumption.

Increasing the taxies of alcohol

Limiting the working hours of companies and shops that sell alcohol to public.
Making drivers aware of the dangers of alcohol when consumed before or during driving.

Making people understand that streets can never be a safe place and one has to be aware of rare drunk drivers going on the streets especially in the late hours at night.

M.A.D.D. makes videos on a regular basis pointing out the aforementioned 7 issues in different states depending on which issue M.A.D.D. finds the most pressing and relevant. These topics appear to cover not only driver or victim related issues, but also various social issues which may not be solved by individual drivers. As a result one can see that M.A.D.D. videos target at least the following audiences:

Drivers and vehicle owners. Drivers need to understand that the vehicle they own is more than a means of transportation or comfort. It can also turn to a weapon or a mean of murder and vehicle homicide, when the driver fails to control it properly. Drunk driving thus is viewed as a dangerous thing for both the driver (who might fall asleep while driving or simply failing to effectively react to the conditions on the street and hit something) and to the people outside the car (who might get hit accidentally by the car operated by a drunk driver). One of such videos can be found online at http://www.upenn.edu/video/pvp/st-MADD.html , the UPenn M.A.D.D. branch.
Students (university and school). Students in the M.A.D.D. videos were noted to have been the primary cause of drunk driving and thus represent the greatest risk group of drunk driving. Students were noted to be just starting an independent life and thus view themselves as being capable of keeping the situation under control at all times. Therefore, oftentimes after some college or student parties they choose to drive home under influence of alcohol or other substances. M.A.D.D. urge students to have a dedicated driver and promote government sponsored taxi service for students (Placsek, 2004). Placsek (2004) notes that since students are open to learning more than adults, it is the students at whom M.A.D.D. should aim its videos in the first place. Ultimately it is the students who make up the most drivers in the next 5 years after they graduate. For School videos one can look at the online video collection of M.A.D.D. videos at http://www.schoolassembly.org/.

Regular people. Regular people in the M.A.D.D. videos were urged of drunk driving and thus were recommended to remain extremely cautious on the streets especially in the later hours. Since the majority of drunk driving incidents takes place after 9:00pm, people who walk need to be aware of drunk drivers making their way either home after hitting some bars or to the bars after having a few beers at home. Even if one is not drunk, one has to be aware of drunk people around on the street. By the way M.A.D.D. had started after one girl got killed in a hit-and-run vehicle homicide and the mother decided to organize other mothers to promote the ideas of healthy driving and healthy lifestyles (Robin, 2004). Robin (2004) notes that since regular people make up the majority of the populace and the majority of drivers, M.A.D.D. should in every video refer to regular people as drivers, victims and M.A.D.D. activists at the same time to reduce the rates of alcohol driving.

Shop-owners/bar-tenders. Shop-owners and bar-tenders need to be aware that as the ultimate distributors of alcohol they make a choice of who will get drunk and who won’t. They have a free choice of who to sell alcohol to and who to ask for an ID. One needs to remember that oftentimes bar-tenders get tempted to sell alcohol to anyone in order to receive more profits. The videos created by M.A.D.D. point out how the issues of life and death are a matter of choice of each individual shop-owner/bar-tender.

Law-enforcers and public servants. The public servants also represent the target audience of M.A.D.D. videos simply because they are in ultimate control of the laws regulating driving and the sale of alcohol. M.A.D.D. in its videos strives to urge law enforcers and public servants to constantly update the laws regarding the sale of alcohol, the working hours of bars and shops that sell alcohol and more stringent norms for obtaining a driver’s license. Police officers are urged to look for some cues that show that a given car is driven by a drunk individual and are urged to stop it before it hits someone. By the same token they should make frequent raids on the shops that sell alcohol to assure that the shop does not sell alcohol to minors or people who they believe might be alcoholics.

Law-makers. Law makers are also mentioned in different videos of M.A.D.D. and are urged to take the greatest responsibility in the process of preventing people from hurting one another when drunk. It is for this reason, some videos point out to the law makers the need to make the punishment for drunk drivers more harsh and the process of obtaining a driver’s license more difficult and demanding. They advocate special tests for those who want to obtain a driver’s license that would assess the person’s likeliness to drive the car in risky situations such as alcohol abuse, driving a friend to a hospital while being under the influence of alcohol and other ethical dilemmas. Those who are likely to drive under influence should not be given a driver’s license. The laws should also be passed to prohibit consumption of alcohol by anyone under the age of 21 years as a precautionary mean. The shops that sell alcohol should be regulated and the hours of operation should be limited. The shops should not operate late at night simply because during the late hours people are most likely to drive under influence (Ward, 2003). Ward (2003) states that by aiming videos at regular people and students, M.A.D.D. will indirectly influence the law-makers who are always open to new ideas that would draw the most electoral support. Since the majority of people favor substance-free sober driving, the law-makers will pick up on all videos aimed at regular people rather than at law-makers as some might suggest.

In conclusion, I would like to note that the videos created by M.A.D.D. target different groups of people rather than just students or possible victims of drunk drivers. M.A.D.D. videos aim at the whole society and all the stakeholders. It is for this reason, M.A.D.D. videos target students to dissuade them from drinking and driving, they target common people who like to stroll in the streets at night. M.A.D.D. also targets shops selling alcohol and the law-makers/law enforcers to develop and maintain the needed legal framework in which the chances of drunk driving would be lowered. Finally, I would like to note that M.A.D.D. videos contain besides logical explanation of the necessity for action some emotional appeals with statistics and pictures of damaged or destroyed cars and the mothers who are in tears simply because their children are either killed by drunk drivers or are imprisoned for drunk driving.

Bibliography:

Robin, Gerald, 2004, Waging the Battle Against Drunk Driving: Issues, Countermeasures, and Effectiveness (Contributions in Criminology & Penology), Prentice Hall, pp. 78-80.
Ward, Kyle, 2003, MADD's telemarketing: successes and cautions. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), Fund Raising Management, pp. 311-312.
Placsek, Michele, 2004, MADD Victim Impact Panels and Stages-of-Change in Drunk-Driving Prevention (*). (Mothers Against Drunk Driving ), Journal of Studies on Alcohol, pp. 255-256.
Hays, Richard, 2005, Mothers against Drunk Driving red ribbon coloring book: Tie one on for safety, McGraw Hill, pp. 160-162.
Video files, http://www.schoolassembly.org/, Accessed: April 2nd, 2006.
Video files, http://www.upenn.edu/video/pvp/st-MADD.html, Accessed: April 2nd, 2006.

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