Candice Lightner’s Legacy
In addition to writing her book, Lightner continued to speak out against drunk driving in lectures across the country. In 1992, she founded a group called Victims in Action and its legislative arm, the Victims in Action Political Action Committee. In 1994, Lightner drew fire from MADD for lobbying on behalf of the American Beverage Institute, a trade group of restaurant and hotel executives. She took sides against her former allies over states wanting to pass laws lowering the blood alcohol level at which a driver is considered legally drunk from .10 to .08. Lowering the limit would not get the most dangerous drivers off the road, Lightner argued. Drivers with blood alcohol levels above .10, she asserted, cause more than 80 percent of drunk driving deaths. “The man who killed my daughter kept on driving drunk,” Lightner told Katherine Griffin of Health magazine. “He has since been arrested several more times. In each case his blood alcohol content has been .20 or above. A small segment of our drinking/driving population causes the majority of the fatalities. So why aren’t we going after them?”
In the year 1985, just 5 years after founding the organization MADD, the founder Candy Lightner left the organization criticizing the group for becoming a “neo-prohibitionist” organization targeting alcohol rather than the problem of drunk driving. The new mission of MADD had grown into being an ever-increasing hard line stance against the consumption of alcohol regardless of whether or not it had anything to do with driving.
MADD Founder Candice Lightner
Grassroots Activist Turns Personal Tragedy into National Movement.
By Rosanne Skirble Washington, D.C. 21 July 2006
Candice Lightner says grieving is the beginning, middle and rest of her life. “My daughter Carrie was 13 and she was killed by a multiple repeat offender, (a) hit and run drunk driver. And that started the whole movement. I was so angry.”
That anger motivated the 34-year-old divorced mother of three to take a stand. She quit her job as a real estate agent and immersed herself into organizing a fight to save lives. In 1980, the year Carrie was killed by a drunk driver, 27,000 people died in alcohol-related crashes. Lightner called her new group Mothers Against Drunk Driving, also known by its acronym, MADD.
“Our strategy basically was to deal with the issue on the local, state and national level,” she says. “On the local level we would ask city councils to implement task forces in order to deal with the problem on the local level. At the state level we would look at legislation and we would look at state-governor-appointed task forces to deal with it at the state level. And at the national level, of course, we looked at it in terms of the Presidential task force.”
Within two years, a presidential commission addressed the problem and recommended that the drinking age be raised to 21. By 1987 all states had complied.
Lightner also fought to criminalize driving drunk. “My belief was [that] we needed to have judges and law enforcement and everybody else say that this behavior is not acceptable. It is not tolerable. We are going to do something about it. Then maybe the public would pick up on the fact that this is a crime and it is a serious crime.”
During Candice Lightner’s first press conference in August 1980 launching MADD, her daughters Carrie and Serena’s friends picket the State capitol in Sacramento MADD lobbied for tougher laws and harsher penalties and got them. For the five years between 1980 and 1985 that Lightner ran the organization, 500 new laws were passed across the country to address the drunk-driving issue. “I learned that you really can make a difference, that you really can change attitudes, you can change laws, you can become involved and immersed in something and have a positive impact.”
In the 25 years since MADD was founded, alcohol traffic fatalities in the United States have been cut by 40 percent. The organization, now with 600 chapters across the country, estimates that over the past quarter century, it has saved more than 300,000 lives.
When Lightner left MADD, she worked with struggling non-profits and picked up the pieces of her home life. “I get calls all the time from people who want to start a movement, who have had some tragedy that happened to them or a friend or whatever, and there are a number of groupsâ€¦ that exist that I helped in the beginning and that I was happy to do. And, I always tell them: ‘It is really important that while you are doing this you still are able to take care of your family, really maintain your life.'”
Lightner followed her own advice. She needed time to grieve and be with her children. Today she sells houses in Virginia. People often ask her how she could go from the head of a national organization to a job as a real estate agent. “I help people make the biggest investment decision of their lives,” she says, “There is nothing that makes me feel better than to find the home of their dreams, that they truly love and that I know that they are going to do well, make money and live and be happy. And, to me that is making a difference. It is not saving a life, but it is helping people with the biggest investment in their future. So on the upside, I truly believe that whatever it is that you do, if you look at it a certain way, it is going to help or benefit or do something good for somebody.”
Candice Lightner says over the years the pain of her daughter’s death has lessened but that it never goes away. The impassioned activist against drunk driving and founder of MADD says, “It is a lot easier to deal with anger and rage than with heartache.”
Posted by Erica Lightner at 2007-10-30 12:38
My name is Erica Lightner And Im candice lightner’s granddaughter. I love what she did and im so proud of her . my dad(travis) told me the story of aunt carie and i know the story.
Posted by Luc at 2007-11-29 09:17
Great work to Candice Lightener but your granddaughter should really go to school to learn to spell…
Posted by Yh at 2007-12-06 08:36
The tirade Ms Lightner began back in the 80’s has long since spiralled out of control since her departure, and despite the tragedy she endured; the amount of unnecessary control she’s exerted and lives ruined by the punitive measures she helped initiate has outweighed her pain. Period. Anyway you’d like to quantify it, her daughter has been avenged, and now we have passed over into victimization and prohibition.
An equivalent situation might be: I get diahrrea from a burrito I eat at a Taqueria, and right away begin an all out war on Immigration. Or a black man mugs me once, so I begin calling the police to report suspicious activities any time I see an African-Americann anywhere. An exaggeration? Hardly. Drinking is NOT illegal but has been criminalized to such a high degree that the only next step available is the complete erradication of alcohol altogether. I can only imagine how many spouses and children of convicted DUI offenders have had to suffer every day that their loved one remained a criminal. This includes- becoming flat broke from DUI fines, loss of employment due to suspended license. These methods of punishment have pushed many on the poverty line into homelessness, and yet, those that seem to care the least (actors, politicians, celebrities) seem to be punished the least as well. Their pocketbooks provide a thick shielding against the true financial drain
a DUI can be.Can we really stand behind legislation that makes one mistake cause your whole life to fall apart with no chance of ever recovering? I’d love to see how many suicides are related to DUI convictions. There’s a hard stat to come by. And yet they have the clairvoyance to assess hoe many accidents have been PREVENTED?? Right. Real convincing stats.
My pops always said, Take responsibility or someone else will take it for you…
Well what about when a group has stripped us of our rights, and not allowed us to prove responsibility, yet saddled us with all the liability in the world in order to remain in power.
When will we stop the zealots from shifting our free society into a prison that they designed in order to make them(self appointed judge-jury-AND-executioner) feel secure?
Maybe we won’t feel the need to act until they’ve taken away all of our rights completely, but by then it will surely be far too late .
Posted by J Phillips at 2007-12-07 10:44
This comment is for YH who wrote the idiotic comment above! YOu should be ashamed of yourself! You would not feel that way if you had lost a loved one due to the selfish act of a DUI driver. I was hit by a 6 time repeat offender and nearly lost my life. I spent 2 years in a hospital learning to do all the things that you probably take for granted. I applaud the movement that Candi Lightner started and I will do EVERYTHING in my power to stop drunk driving. I do not, however, have anything against alcohol, as long as it is consumed responsibly. Maybe that is your underlying problem – you do not know how to be responsible and do not like the consequences. Too bad. People know the laws, if they break them and hurt or kill someone, they should be tried for attempted murder and murder. As angry as I am at YOU for your stupidity I do not wish the pain and suffering that I have been through at the hands of a drunk driver. Not to mention that my 4 year old niece was killed by yet another repeat DUI offender. Please grow up.
Posted by don at 2008-03-03 21:02
drunk driving is one thing… criminalizing a million people a year because of a personal vendetta because of a person who caused you harm is another. Even the founder of MADD, Candace Lightner (god bless her) stated that the newer goals of MADD were neo-prohibitionist, that the real problem lies at drivers at 0.15 and above, and the system letting them go, not lower the BAC, etc. I feel incredibly bad for your situation J Phillips, but I would also like to know the BAC of these persons who victimized you and your family. Would these incidents (I am very careful not to use the word “accidents” here) have happened if the driver was stone cold sober? Please note, the number of “drunk” driving deaths are declining, but the overall automobile deaths are rising… see any disparagy here?
Posted by J Phillips at 2008-03-06 11:49
This comment is for Don posted above. I do not have a personal vendetta against anyone. In fact I have forgiven the man that hurt me. I know that he wasn’t a bad person, and that alcohol causes poor judgement. However, I USED to work for MADD but left because I had a different opinion on certain things. And I appreciate you not calling them “accidents”. However, laws are laws. Anyone who breaks any of them should be punished! And people know the risks of driving under the influence and are gambling with theirs and other innocent people’s lives. Like playing Russian Roulette. Sometimes it might end up without harm to anyone, and sometimes it could be fatal. I believe education is the key, not the miracle cure. The BAC of my crash was over a .10 and the one that killed my niece was merely at the limit. And if both of the drivers of my crash and my nieces had been sober, they would not have been on the wrong side of the road and hit us head on. Yes the number of DUI deaths is declining and that is great but is it down enough if one of those numbers is someone you love? Last year I was hit by a driver high on meth doing over a 100mph! Its not just alcohol we have to worry about.
Posted by don at 2008-03-06 20:29
Against the law means someone should automatically be punished. With total disregard to that individual’s personal rights and civil liberties. If laws are such a noble concept, why are they always being changed and/or repealed? I could list all the downright silly to absolutely heinous laws this country has had in the past, but that would make this an incredibly long post. Just because something is law does NOT make it right. Laws are made by humans, humans are flawed and often times driven more by emotion than common sense or logic. Case in point, studies have shown that cell phone use is more dangerous than drunk driving. Some states have already taken action, and I applaud them for that, but these same states do not take away that persons license automatically, charge them insanely high court costs, nearly ensure that person has to hire a lawyer and pay high costs, face jail time and/or community service, an alcohol interlock device (should cell phone users/offenders have a disabler installed in their vehicle?) public humiliation, loss of employment, suicide for being treated so harshly, etc. And this can all happen at the whim of a police officer. Even though proven more dangerous than “drunk” driving, no “Candace Lightner” has decided to start an organization to end this activity that takes many lives every year, been taken over by zealots over the years (anti technology freaks) and escalated to making literally millions of people criminals because of a vendetta. I believe the highways should be made safer, but in an intelligent, rational, and logical way; not based in emotion. I truly empathize with what has happened to you, but I also invite you to consider the fallout of punishing every one for a few peoples mistakes. If you have not watched them, I recommend the following movies as a warning to where this country is steadily heading; Minority Report, Judge Dredd (crappy movie, but pertinent), V for Vendetta, Gattaca and Aeon Flux. I am certain there are more, but if you have seen them, watch them again (hell, I will send you the money to rent them if necessary) and pay attention to what happens when liberties are eroded from individuals. These movies are intentended as entertainment of course, but they also hold a warning for the future. I also invite you to check out some links on my website that give further insight to what I am talking about http://www.webspawner.com/users/poelf/index.html. It is a terrible occasion when someone incurs personal injury or death due to someone elses irresponsibility, it is also a terrible occasion when a responsible person is punished due to someone elses irresponsibility.
Posted by Go F*c! Yourself at 2008-08-19 04:22
I’d just like to comment on these posts. I’ve been a victim of a driver/pedestrian “accident”. The driver who ran me over was totally stone sober. I spent 2 weeks in the hospital in intensive care. Spent another 2 months at home under “observation”, and was only then allowed to return to school. I’m also a victim of receiving a DUI. An unfairly and unjust check point was established which I was forced into. That’s called entrapment boys and girls. Anyway, the laws and fines associated with DUIs are only in existence to create revenue for the State. Period. There are more people killed in “accidents” that do not involve alcohol than there are that do involve alcohol. Check the web, there’s all kinds of stats you can look up about the “bad science” MADD uses in order to convey their message. While you’re at it, look up the earning figures for the MADD executives. And also remember it’s a tax exempt corporation. FREE MONEY!!!! One again the almighty dollar making the world go ’round. One other point I wanted to make was the law here in the glorious Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, restricts COD (commercial drivers license) drivers (think big rig drivers) from renewing their license, ever again. Just after their first offense. But the surgeon who may be cutting your head or chest open gets a slap on the wrist. That’s somewhat ironic to me. I have to agree with Don as per posted above. Go watch the movies he listed. It’s a sickening realization to the future this p.o.s. country is heading for. I’m on the next boat outta here if you ask me. And would someone please teach “Erica” how to spell? Maybe some of the MADD money should be used towards educating the youth of the nation. Instead of being use to incriminate it. And lastly, remember the only certainty in life is death (more irony). If you die from an alcohol related “accident”, it’s probably better than suffering the horror of cancer. Just a thought.
Posted by Jeremy at 2009-01-22 18:57
Am I reading this right? You have suddenly jumped ship on the whole alcohol issue and now have brought illegal drugs into the picture. Perfect and you said you didn’t mind responsible consumption. It really is hard to believe your not pushing for the complete prohibition of alcohol and even then do you think it is going to prevent all alcohol related crashes? Hardly, now instead of a peaceful drunk pulling over calmly, they are going to be evading police and surely putting inocent lives in danger. Whatever your agenda may be, I dont like it and it is truely against every aspect are founders fought for. But then again, I couldn’t expect any of you to know what freedom is.
Posted by Ash at 2009-05-29 04:32
For all that have been injured by drunk drivers, I get it. The question is why is alcohol legal if it is such a horrible thing. I sit in my DUI class listening to my teacher tell me that she had a 30 year meth/speed habit and she has gone 10 days without sleeping and driven a car when she was imagining things coming at her, and she wants ZERO TOLERANCE for people drinking. I drank from 18 til 43 moderately and never had a problem…Was I over the limit, hell yes but that doesn’t mean drunk. This law is destroying lives and criminalizing millions of people who have never committed a crime in their life. When you suspend a person’s liciese for a year(even to go to work) you destroy families. After a hard days work, going to a bar for pitcher has become Russian roulette. Police officers are some of the biggest drinkers but they have to go and enforce .08 for everyone else and then sleep at night. This law and now domestic violence laws have given lawyers the right to make EASY MONEY for doing NOTHING but getting someone the same plea deal they could have gotten without them. If you take a DUI charge to a jury you could end up doing 6 months to a year in prison. Here in California with all the gangbangers in prison, that could be a death sentence. Personally I think the cameras in the police cars should be removed cause the cops have to do a thankless job and they are being USED AS MUCH AS ANYONE. It is all about money and destroying average americans lives. If i wanted to have a couple of beers and walk my dog, due to ZERO TOLERANCE I would be looking at another DUI. MADD has destroyed more lives then it could have saved and financially destroyed people to the point where they might be drinking MORE THEN EVER to deal with all the stress. I feel sorry for the 21 year olds who want to hang out with their friends on a weekend at a bar or nightclub in California, they are truly screwed and DUI charges will destroy families in the process. It is pathetic.
Posted by chris colbert at 2008-11-16 00:50
you don’t mention whether the driver who hit you was drunk at the time or not. Or the driver that hit and killed your niece. Assuming they were, however, isn’t this evidence that D.U.I. laws did nothing to prevent your injuries and your niece’s death? If lower and lower BAC limits aren’t preventing these tragedies, what is their purpose?
Posted by Kit at 2009-09-13 10:09
Funny, no mention of how Candy’s departure from the MADD scene came about though her OWN DUI arrest !
Posted by al at 2009-06-28 08:22
what kind of hurtful person are you? is that the only thing you have to say to that little girl. what if she was very young when she wrote that? you are just what this world doesn’t need, more pain!!! how dare you? i can just imagine this girls heart being hurt when she read your comment. that the only thing you had to say was that crap. you go around and break little kids hearts much? i bet you do. you’re evil.
Posted by J Phillips at 2008-03-06 12:01
Hello Erica! I would love to talk to you if you are interested. You’re grandmother Candi has been my inspiration for the last 20 years. She is an incredible person who has changed millions of lives, mine included. MADD helped my mother back in 1983 when I was 16 and was hit by a drunk driver. Please tell her that I am one of her biggest fans. You can email me at stopDUI@gmail.com. I hope to hear from you soon!
Posted by Becca Plate at 2008-11-03 10:56
My friends and I are working on a project for National History Day. We have decided to do your grandmother for our project. We would like to contact her in some way, but we just can not find anything. We live in Alexandria Virginia as well and we really need to get working on our project. Do you think you could maybe give us an address or email? We are doing a documentary, and would LOVE if we could get a short interview. If you would, pass this on to your grandmother that would be so wonderful.
thanks a lot,
Becca,Fatima and Michelle
Posted by Erica lightner at 2008-11-03 19:05
yah, give me your email and ill give it to her to email you back. my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by becca plate at 2008-11-03 20:27
ok. my email is email@example.com
thank you SOOO much!!
Posted by Tom Loed at 2008-11-04 10:08
Here’s my concern. My girlfriend receieved a d.u.i. after drinking about 10 oz of beer. We arrived to the bar and almost immediately had to give a friend a ride home because he had too much to drink and we didn’t want him driving. We were pulled over for a minor traffic infraction and the police smelled alcohol in the car, from our friend. They obviously questioned my girlfriend and she told them then she drank about a 1/2 pint of beer. She weighs about 100 pounds and blew a .08 and was taken to jail. Because of this she lost her license for 6 months. During that time she had to quit college as well as her job as they were both more then 20 minutes away. Up to that point she had never been arrested and was well upon her way to a successfull life. The d.u.i. caused her to put her life on hold and it took her years to be able to get back to a point which she could return and finally finish college. I do believe that drinking and driving can be a bad thing if you’re actually drunk. I also believe that reading, texting, talking, laughing, joking, and generally not paying attention while driving is also very dangerous. Only difference is people do not have their lives ruined by the police and state for g.o.w.d. or goofing off while driving. I believe that the punishment should fit the crime. When a person goes through a personal tradgedy they want to lash out and blame others for their own situations. My girlfriend had nothing to to with killing anyone’s loved ones or ruining lives. All she was doing was giving a friend a ride who would have driven drunk had we not helped. This country is growing so increasingly ridiculous in it’s judgement on both sides of the law. A person has two beers and their life is ruined. I am sorry to families who have lost loved ones, it’s a tradgedy but it isn’t fair to inflict harm because harm has been inflicted upon you. I think Candice Lightner is an angry person and if it is true that she has had multiple d.u.i.’s then she is a hipocrate as well.
Posted by Laurie Lewis at 2009-01-19 01:43
To the Lightner family: First of all, God Bless All Of You… without you and your experience with this tragic situation, I don’t know where I would have turned. I lost my husband in 1989, due to a drunk driving accident. He was the driver. He was 29 years old. I became a single mother of three daughters within seconds… they are all grown up now and of course asking me questions…which I have tried to answer to the best of my ability. Thank God for you!!!!! After a few years, I found another man and we fell in love!! I got pregnant in November of 1996 with twin boys. We were head over heels in love and doing really well. In April of 2000, he too lost his life in a drunk driving accident. He was 31 years old. He was riding a bicycle and crashed into a curb. WWWHHHOOOAAAA!!!!! What the heck??? What happrned and why was I/we going through this again? Why was I/we ever going through this ever?? I loved these two men with all of my heart and soul and I felt then and still feel so alone without them. I look at my children and know deep down inside that they carry on their beauty, their handsomeness, their over-all beings…Thank you so much for opening up your lives and hearts to all of us out here that feel the same pain. I’m so glad I have a place to speak, even though it’s been a while since I’ve spoken to anyone about our losses…it feels better to just know that you are here… GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY AND MAY YOU ALWAYS CARRY LOVE AND HOPE IN YOUR HEARTS!!!!! LOVE TO YOUR HEARTS FROM OURS, The Lewis Family
Posted by Bobby Bertoniere at 2008-04-07 20:46
I know this site is going to support this MADD woman, After serving in the military I just want to know when your friend Candice Lightner plans to apologize about her statements about the military this morning on The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, She said “They Are Not Adults, that’s why they’re in the military.”
As a veteran of a foreign war, while serving in Afghanistan at 19, I think I Deserve an apology. Also, I think the military deserves an apology too Candice.
Posted by Charlene Gelb at 2008-05-11 14:37
This is Erica’s mother. Erica is only 11 years old and I just found out that she posted this. I apologize that she did not mention her age in her original post. I know that her grandmother is a controversial figure and do not wish to get in to any debates with anyone about it. I will try to monitor her internet use more carefully in the future. Meanwhile, I will post a clarification of her age on here so that everyone who replies to her can be aware that she is only 11 years old. Thank you.
Posted by Charlene Gelb at 2008-05-11 14:51
Hello everyone! I am Erica Lightner’s mother and she just showed me the comment she posted here some time ago. Unfortunately, she did not mention that she is only 11 years old. I understand that adults use this forum to discuss various issues related to her grandmother and drunk driving issues, but I would like to ask everyone that replies to her to please remember that she is only 11 years old and keep that in mind when writing to her. Thank you.
Posted by Rqoul Mendez at 2008-06-28 20:05
No one I’m sure intends to traumatize a sweet young girl such as Erica . But It must be ackcnowleged that Erica too will grow into Adolesence — Adulthood — and will be held to the same standards advocated by her parents
In the interem so many lives are being affected by the dubious and at times totally arbitrary misuse of power
This situation is justified by ambiguous statistics tailored to reflect the opinions of a Zealous Few — They use political pragmatism — to Impose the Sacred Will of the few — on the Many
Victimless crimes are punished by Statutes — forced into law by the Zealots who Carry the Cross of Rightousness to Washington and find their reason for existence in it’s cause. Victimized or not
Who threaten to use highway funding as a sword of Damaclese hanging over the heads of local government forcing ( comply )
And who of course could never imagine their Children at some future point being victimized by this same lack of REASON. Yes REASON!!
My Heart felt condolences go out to Erica’s Mom and all those who have fallen victim to DRUNK DRIVERS
” What Zealot seeking Justice Ever Found it in the End
When clouded in Extremity — reason ends — and people tend — to Cast the First Stone “
Posted by Banjo at 2008-08-14 12:57
While this has appeared to be a great organization, the rhetoric of this organization has turned into ‘big money’ for every state. Do you actually think that the states care how many people actually die on the road, whether it be from drunk driving, people that are half-blind, can’t drive, speeding, etc.? And look how many of our government officials are drinking and driving and pedophiling and everything else. Nope, it’s how much money my particular state of Ohio can glean from these people. Do you think every person that drinks and uses bad judgement is a criminal? That’s why it’s defined as bad judgement. And if a person is ‘impaired’ to begin with, why would anyone allow a judicial system to use that same ‘impairment’ against these very same people? The very word itself says it all. I would sugget a grass-roots organization called DAMM. By the way, I’d like to know why DUI offenders are the only ones required to drive with “Party Plates”. Talk about inequality! I’d love to see bankrobbers, arsonists, rapists, etc. all have to have license plates indicating what their crime is.
Posted by Jennifer at 2008-10-12 11:42
I was in an accident yesterday with a drunk driver, he swerved out of his lane and into mine, almost hitting me head on at about 60mph. Luckily I was able to swerve right and avoid a head on collision, but he still hit the right front fender and took the drivers side of my car off. My injuries are minimal, but I cannot get the vision of those headlights coming at me dead on out of my head. All I thought at that moment is “This is how I die”
It happens so fast, even when you are following all the rules, your life can be taken from you in a heartbeat. Now I am going to be scared everytime I get behind the wheel. But I am thankful to have not been severely injured and to still have my life.
Thanks for listening.
Posted by chris colbert at 2008-11-16 01:16
You must be a rookie driver. I can help you learn to drive.
First, hang up the phone. When you get behind the wheel of an automobile, your activities are reduced to one; driving.
Once you learn to concentrate, that’s right, CONCENTRATE, on driving, you will become better at defensive driving.
You will face constant and numerous hazards every time you take a drive.
Including cars veering into your lane of travel. Your job when that happens is to make up for the offending driver’s dangerous move with a counter move that reduces or eliminates the danger to you and that driver. Instead of swerving right, into the path of the oncoming vehicle, thereby causing damage to your right front fender, try STEERING left away from the danger, while lightly applying brakes to slow your speed.
With enough experience, when faced with this sitiuation and others even more dangerous, your thoughts will become, hey did you see that idiot, he almost hit me, instead of ” Oh My God! WE”RE ALL GONNA’ DIE, BECAUSE THAT GUY DRANK BEER AND I SUCK AT DRIVING!”
Posted by Jen at 2008-11-17 11:40
You are just an idiot!
Posted by chris colbert at 2008-11-19 18:30
And your a big poopie head. But even poopie heads can learn to drive defensively. It may save your life.
Posted by Alexis at 2008-12-05 09:01
Hi my name is Alexis and i am 15 years old. About 2 years ago my uncle lost his mother to a drunk driver, and yet to this day the guy that killed her hasnt spend one day in jail. I think drunk driving is not taken seriously. And I think that all drunk drivers should get life in prison and/or the death penalty. I have no forgiveness for stupidity. Why should he get to run the streets scott free, when my uncle has no mother now. She was only about 50 years old and she left behind three beautiful grand children that will never know their grandmother. I wish i could so something to stop drunk driving but i cant, so i think this group that you organized is wonderful and i hope that one day i can make a difference.
Posted by Shelly at 2008-12-05 09:08
The drunk driving poem
I went to a party, Mom, I remembered what you said.
You told me not to drink, Mom, so I drank soda instead
I really felt proud inside, Mom, the way you said I would.
I didn’t drink and drive, Mom, even though the others said I should.
I know I did the right thing, Mom, I know you are always right.
Now the party is finally ending
Mom, as everyone is driving out of sight.
As I got into my car, Mom, I knew I’d get home in one piece.
Because of the way you raised me, so responsible and sweet.
I started to drive away, Mom, but as I pulled out into the road,
the other car didn’t see me, Mom, and hit me like a load.
As I lay there on the pavement, Mom, I hear the policeman say,
the other guy is drunk, Mom, and now I’m the one who will pay.
I’m lying here dying, Mom.. I wish you’d get here soon.
How could this happen to me, Mom? My life just burst like a balloon.
There is blood all around me, Mom, and most of it is mine.
I hear the medic say, Mom, I’ll die in a short time.
I just wanted to tell you, Mom, I swear I didn’t drink.
It was the others, Mom. The others didn’t think.
He was probably at the same party as I.
The only difference is, he drank and I will die.
Why do people drink, Mom? It can ruin your whole life.
I’m feeling sharp pains now. Pains just like a knife.
The guy who hit me is walking, Mom, and I don’t think it’s fair.
I’m lying here dying and all he can do is stare.
Tell my brother not to cry, Mom. Tell Daddy to be brave.
And when I go to heaven, Mom, put “Daddy’s Girl” on my grave.
Someone should have told him, Mom, not to drink and drive.
If only they had told him, Mom, I would still be alive.
My breath is getting shorter, Mom. I’m becoming very scared.
Please don’t cry for me, Mom. When I needed you, you were always there.
I have one last question, Mom, before I say good bye.
I didn’t drink and drive, so why am I the one to die?
IF THIS DOESNT CHANGE YOUR OPINION ON DRUNK DRIVING, I DONT KNOW WHAT WILL.
Posted by yoseph schennawy at 2008-12-05 22:00
thank you for giving us yet another example of the level of feminization we’ve come to in this country.we’re talking about a multidimensional problem that has its social, political and financial impact on millions of people on both sides and on our society as a whole and the direction we’re chosing for our future.you would think that we might need a “Logical” and “scintific” approach that involves collecting relevant facts which can be turned into info which then can be carefully studied and analyzed in order to produce solutions that can be suggested to the decision makers!a strictly professional process conducted by qualified unbiased non “emotionally impaired” individuals and as far away as possible from the zealots of the”special groups” and the crooks of the state.but why do that if we can always present the public with a poem?hey how about mom I’m bleedig because the other driver was simply a dumbass!mom I’m crippled because the other driver was a senior citizen who can’t see shit but he’s still allowed to drive a huge RV across the country because it’s “politically incorrect”to tell him he can’t.mom I’m in a comma because the other driver was eating,drinking coffe,playing with the radio,messing with the navigator, talking on the phone,looking at the map, horsing around and porbably getting some head!mom I’m dead because the other driver had an angry argument, hadn’t slept for 2 days or simply was over exhausted and still got behind the wheel!see there’s a shit load of factors that could impaire your driving ability and judgement and cause accidents!this’s where I see hypocracy in DUI laws!it’s a lot easier to turn the public against alcohol and alcohol drinkers in such feminized society where the majority have become willing to just take their pants off and take it up their tailpipe at the mere mentioning of words like
“victims”, “mothers”,”children”and”safety”!great deal for the state and MADD,first:mislead the public on the issue, second:get their blind support and use it to criminalize them and third:simply eat their hard earned money under their watch!as for the problem that still exists and more importantly the future of freedom in this country,screw that,just show me the damn money!!
Posted by Shelly at 2008-12-09 08:41
No this poem had nothing to do with the amount of feminization we have in our world today. It shows that people care and how do we know that a woman wrote this poem, it was a poem submitted by an unknown author. And by posting a ignorant comment like this just shows that you are probably just another drunk driver yourself. And you have no common sense what so ever, and while you’re at it maybe you should go back to school and learn to spell. I would like to see what you would do if you lost someone that you love due to a drunk driver. Then let’s see who’s talking.
Posted by yoseph schennawy at 2008-12-09 22:18
thank you AGAIN for validating my point by posting a typical
FEMINIZED “rabble rabble rabble”response!I don’t know what
education or knowledge you possess other than probably watching daytime rubbish tv shows to call me ignorant simply because I don’t buy into misleading propagandas ,cheap sentements and not to mention DUMB and TALENTLESS poem!why don’t you do us a favor and help yourself to a book or some news paper before you ask ME to go back to school?because then
you would know that feminization has NOTHING to do with the author being a man or a woman or even a frog!you didn’t have ANY valid logical argument other than pointing fingers and accusing me of being an”ignorant drunk driver”so what does
that make you?for your info,I am educated,I am very well rounded,I’m not a”dunk” driver and I do have common sense!that
same common sense demands that angry intolerant irrational narrow minded people should NOT shape our laws!those who lost
loved ones have every right to be angry and they sure have the
right to justice and restitution!however,they don’t have the right to turn the issue into merely a SCAM to make money for
the state and certain organizations at the expense of INNOCENT
hard working fathers,mothers,brothers,sisters,sons and daughters while DIShonoring the memory of the actual victims of drunk driving and DMAGING freedom and civil liberties in our country!this is not just about drunk driving,this is about our general attitude towards solving issues,our way of life as a free country,our constitution and the future of democracy!
Posted by shrew at 2009-01-27 00:49
Ummm… didn’t change my opinion, at all, just made me agree with all the dui’ers. This is life, stuff happens, period. if its not a drunk driver today, then it will be something tomorrow. Yeah drinking and driving is bad, but it this whole just plain “ban it!” attitude is crap and will get nothing done. Keeping the drinking age so high and being in such an ati-alcohol attitude to kids will only make it worse, if I cannot get it, I really want it, that is the way we are, human.
BTW: That poem is horrible, all it does is make young adults just want to get away from that crap… (who wants to be a mama’s boy?)
Posted by bren at 2009-01-02 22:28
I agree/diagree with so much here. I believe dwi/dui is all a money maker. Those who have money hire a lawyer go thru the drill and get off. I am middle class but worry about those that are not. Those men who are payint child support and then can’t b/c they have to pay dwi costs even though they harmed no one. Plus the entrapment by police officers. I have been pulled over twice, and no wasn’t doing antything wrong. I exited my vehicle clumsily(sorry natural for me) so they quizzed me about drinking alcohol w/not a drop in me. I had to explain to the cop that my high beams were not on I was stopped at a stop sign that sloped. NOW WHO’S THE IDIOT? MAYBE I SHOULD HAVE ARRESTED HIM FOR STUPIDITY….
Posted by bus1 at 2009-01-19 21:27
im going to have to agree here…Stiffer penalties only result in negative effects on society. DUI’s are mainly money generators for the government as well as motivation for police incentives such as their fancy Dodge CHARGER cop cars as well as faster promotion through the ranks. Most of society is more negatively affected by DUI convictions than positively affected. As stated above even middleclass people struggle paying DUI fines/attorneys as well as getting to work/school. This is the class of people that the economy relies on, not being able to get to work results in people not being able to pay their bills, which is a major issue in todays economy. Drunk driving is deffinetly wrong but not everybody is drunk at the legal limit, so why should these people be penalized as drunk driving offenders? The most effective route in fixing the driving under the influence problem is to use money from convictions to go to public transportation. A neighbor in my area lost a son to a drunk driving accident and now there is a fund for free taxi rides from bars/restaurants/and parties to your residence within 30 miles, this has to be one of the most effective solutions to driving drunk. MADD should focus on public transportation not people who drive with alcohol on my breath.
Posted by Laurie Lewis at 2009-01-21 01:09
Dear bus1, I read your letter and feel for your neighbor. Please tell them that I send my heartfelt feelings, as I too, have lost 2 men (fathers to my children),to drunk driving accidents. I think that your town is wonderful in fulfilling a greatly needed need. The other day I was talking to a friend and she looked into my eyes and said “If they just would’ve called a cab Laurie, 5 of your 6 kids would’nt be fatherless”. In the town where I live, Roseburg, Oregon, there are so many drunk driving incidents and arrests and when I read your letter a little light bulb went off in my head and I said to myself …self..”what a great idea they came up with!!!” My big brother works for a taxi cab company here in our town, I will be talking to him and his boss/company to see if we too can have the same response as your town did!!!! Wish me luck and if it works I will be in touch(if you don’t mind) to let you know how it all plays out. Peace harmony and love to you and your town…. Laurie
Posted by bus1 at 2009-01-21 17:03
im sorry to hear that you have lost loves ones to DUI incidents. Please be in touch if this works, I believe this is one of the most effective way to preventing drunk driving accidents and convictions. This fixes the problem before it happens unlike post-incident punishment. I live in Southern California and it is definetely not a good option to even walk home. First of all around here most cities are zones for serving alcohol which are far away from residential areas. Secondly Police will still arrest people and give them a Drunk in public ticket, police arent promoting walking home from bars/restaurants or parties. MADD should be more worried about preventing people from driving while drunk, not focus on the punishment. Simply taking the thousands of dollars from DUI convictions should be plenty of money to power complimentary taxi rides. In my area they offer a ride up to 30 miles, for southern california that is far, and should definetly be enough to get somebody home. There are also options for those who do not wish to leave their car away from home. Two people come to pick people up the drunk person and one of the taxi drivers drives their car home while the drunk person and the other driver follow, there u will have your car aswell as a safe ride home. But the matter of the fact is the cost, shouldnt MADD sponsor programs such as this? thanks!
Posted by Yoseph S. at 2009-01-21 22:00
I completely agree with both of you up there.one of the KEY solutions to the problem is public transportation and AFFORDABLE cab rides!most of those who drive under the influence,do so because there are no public transportation and they can’t afford a cab.I live in central california and YES bars and restaurants are zoned faraway from residential areas.
the state is directing ALL the efforts and resources towards arresting,
convicting and punishing people,taking the easy and more profitable way out,rather than CURING the problem and preserving lives and liberties.
and from what I heard,MADD’s spokesmen consistently show “indifferent” if not discouraging attitude towards this approach or ANY approach for that matter other than stiffer policies and penalties,which exposes them for what they really are,a special interest group that cares about nothing but capitalizing on our problems and sharing profits with the state.
the free or nominal fee cab is a great idea!I saw how effective it was when I used to live in columbus Ga and I have no problem contributing to a similar project here in central california.
in the mean time,I think we all have an obligation to pressure the state into picking up its REAL responsibilities by adopting similar ideas including improvement of the virtually NON EXISTENT public transportation
rather than prosecuting everybody.
I also believe that if MADD refuses “as expected” to contribute to such projects,then WE the citizens should subject them to MORE public scrutiny
and should DEMAND a thorough audit to the organization and its individual
Posted by Anthony Rhodes at 2009-06-26 18:32
This is to all the people in the military who are under 21. I can understand why this comment by Lightner upsets you. But the fact of the matter is that you don’t need this woman’s approval to be respected. There is a good chance that she has never had to see the things you’ve seen. You have already proven yourselves worthy of a glass of beer. Many people will over-simplify the duties of soldier, marine, etc. There will be a day when she has to answer for the things she says on this messed-up Earth. As will I. I can imagine that losing a child in such a tragic way can be crushing to a parent, but I’m also against the use of scapegoats. Will this offend the people on this site? Of course. But I am not sorry.
Posted by Mark at 2009-08-03 01:16
I lived in Germany for two and a half years in the Army. They have crazy overzealous laws there. In some areas in Germany you can lose your license for life after the first one. I can understand it there. It makes sense. There, there is about fifteen ways to get home that are cheap other than driving.
In this country where Alcohol is part of our culture and in our media and movies, how can we criminalize people for doing what is legal and for some a way of life? Stopping on the way home and hearing about the happy hour at your favorite watering hole you should be able to stop in. Then, you are made a criminal for driving home.
That is ridiculous not because I condone drinking in driving but, you can’t entice people to do something and make it criminal as long as you don’t get caught.
This is supposed to be the land of the free. We are now becoming so over burdened with ridiculous laws; it might as well be communist Russia. Minorities and organizations are writing our laws and it helps the few and hurts the many. This is mainly because pockets are being lined to pass these ridiculous laws. The hypocritical aspect of that is most of the people who pass these laws do it themselves or make enough they can afford to take cabs home when public transportation isn’t available.
This means drinking in public will only be reserved for the wealthy. The laws are being passed because the organizations are making money to push these laws. The law makers are making money off those organizations. The industries that cater to the laws are making a mint, for example, Lawyers, councilors, dui equipment manufacturers, etc. It should also be brought up that the states and local government are making a good part of their budgets from it.
If people really wanted to stop DUI then there is only two ways. Prohibition, or come up with alternatives to DUI; An example of a DUI alternative is, a service like an idea I have for a DUI cab company that runs large passenger vans. You pay a once a month fee and you get twenty-four rides to a bar from home and back. You can also use it to a party or where ever you drink. It’s like DUI insurance. If you use the service and are at a bar you can grab it and bar hop for a real small free of like $5.00. You can take it home and get a ride back to your car the next day. This is reachable by most and you should save gas and your insurance company should lower your rates to belong to such a business.
This is a cheap intelligent way to stop or lower the DUI rate…. I want to start the company but it takes too much capital. I hope someone runs with this idea. People could make millions and save millions of lives.
I am on the border of losing, my house, my job, my car, and being on the street. This isn’t right. DUI laws are meant to punish not put people on the street and ruin lives. We can come up with better ways if we all put our heads together and want to solve problems and stop being hypocrites.
Most people in our adult lives have gone to a wedding reception, bar, or party and had too much to drink. Just because you didn’t get caught doesn’t make you better than those who have. We all need to take responsibility and either fix this problem the right way or, stop it all together and go back to prohibition. We have to be real. If everyone in this country only drank enough not to get a DUI every bar in this country would close in a month. The alcohol companies would all close and millions of jobs would be lost. So let’s fix this the right way if we want to be realistic and live in the land of the free called America.
GOD BLESS AMERICA!!! WE CAN DO BETTER!!!
Posted by Cleveland at 2009-08-06 05:09
2 Years ago I got my 3rd DUI. It took me 30 years to do it. I never had an accident, hurt anyone or did any property damage due to drinking and driving.
Why did I have to go to prison for 120 days? 4 months of my life in prison.(first time incarcerated) Don’t even think of calling it jail. I was put into an environment of complete chaos for having a few beers. I was pulled over for doing 15 MPH over the speed limit on a turnpike in Connecticut.(it was midnight,so who else would be on the road except drunks and cops?)The state police were profiling. I was barely over the limit. I was 5 miles from home.
Yes I broke the law. I AM STILL PAYING THE PRICE. The following was (is) my punishment.
First of all, I called a New Haven lawyer… He told me not to waste my money because I was going to jail. I shrugged it off and thought “no way”, boy was I wrong. Here is what happend.
1. One year loss of license.
2. 120 days in prison.
3. $1000.00 fine.
4. 200 hours of community service.
5. An “alcohol education program” (which I will comment on later)
6. An ignition interlock system (Breathalyzer) to be installed on my vehicle for 2 years after my license was reinstalled which I had to pay to have installed and calibrated periodically.
WHAT? For speeding?
Now I am a convicted felon. I used to do alot of contract work for United Technologies ( Pratt and Whitney, Sikorsky, Hamilton Sunstrand,etc.) as a computer tech. Everytime a recruiter hired me for defense plant work they would require a backgroung check. Now when my name is put into the Connecticut Judicial website my profile is listed as a covicted felon charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and or drugs. Drugs? Where did that come from?
The court gave me my time in prison, fine and community service. Then DMV steps in. They took my license, made me put the interlock device on, and sent me to “alcohol education”.
Alcohol Education in Connecticut is run by The Commonwealth Group. A good name because they are getting very wealthy. It consists of a weekend retreat(Phase 1) to evaluate you, then 6 months of 2 AA meetings a week which has to be documented and 1 Commonwealth meeting a month (Phase 2) which was 60 miles away from my house. Then 1 meeting every 3 months for 1 year (Phase 3) Before you can get your license reinstated. These metting were all run by “counselors” who were all ex drug addicts or alcoholics. And these meetings were all “mandatory” unless it snowed or the classes got so big they told us we were exempt from the final meeting. Oh, it cost me $900.00 for this “education”, which was basically a glorified AA meeting.
So, did the punishment fit the crime? I live in a small shoreline town that goes through corrupt cops all the time. At one point they were running a prostitution ring at a school after hours and the chief of police was stealing money… he gets fired with 3 years pay!
In the 70’s when things were different We used to hang out in our muscle cars in town drinking and talking to cops at the same time. Drinking in public was legal then. If you were too buzzed, the cops would take your keys or give you a ride home.
I guess my point is, If you kill or hurt someone in a car accident, it should be vehicular manslauter or assault. People SHOULD be punished for that. Police SHOULD NOT be out “hunting” every night to fill a quota. Especially since there in nobody to sniff out the skeletons in their closets. My life is ruined because I went to see a friend who happens to be a bartenter to loan him some money. Of course he gave me a few beers for helping him out. It was the first time I had been in a bar in over 3 years. These laws need some refinement.
Right now it is all about the money. The fines, the money the state gets for every person in the over crowded jails, DMV gets thier share. Alcohol is LEGAL… RIGHT? Might as well close all of the bars and resturaunts next.
As for all of you spelling bee champs out there, give Erica a break. There are typos all over the place here.
Posted by Rudy at 2009-08-12 22:33
I was stopped for a DUI did a blood test and spent a night in jail. Luckily my case was dismissed because I tested low even though I had drank earlier. I was not impaired the whole time I drank, but could have failed a DUI if I had left the establishment I was at a little earlier than I did. This whole incident could have easily ruined my life, as I am a teacher. I could have lost my career (who would hire me with a criminal record) my home, car and forced me to go bankrupt with fines. I think of all of the lives that have been ruined for nothing. I think that repeat offenders or people with a high BAC while driving have a problem and should be dealt with, but what about those who decided to drive home before it got to late and where not impaired, but did not meet the standards of a test. How many young people have had their future obliterated? How many families have been broken? For what, having a drink and I’m not talking about drunk. Doesn’t everyone make a slight (very slight at times) lapse in judgement from time to time.
Posted by Tony at 2009-10-07 04:16
Lots of good views here, even though some sound kind of defensive, but that is the benefit of livig in a free republic. So, I have a CDL and rarely drive commercial vehicles, but because I want to keep the CDL I have to be sure to never drink and drive, as I am illegal once I pass .02(commercial license only), so to be sure I always plan ahead and I got myself in the habit, which is the hard part, by getting a ignition interlock put in my car for 6 months and that was the best money ever spent. This was my decision to control my circumstance.