Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD, is a single-issue non-profit victims' rights organization in the United States and other countries. MADD is headquartered in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex suburb of Irving, Texas.
In the 1980s, MADD had success in helping change public attitudes and laws regarding driving under the influence (DUI).
Generally MADD favors:
Education, advocacy and victim assistance
Strict policy in a variety of areas, including an illegal blood alcohol content of .08 or lower and using stronger sanctions for DUI offenders, including mandatory jail sentences, treatment for alcoholism and other alcohol abuse issues, ignition interlock devices, and license suspensions
Helping victims of drunk driving
Maintaining the legal drinking age at 21 years without any exception for religious, medicinal, health, cultural or other reasons, even when provided by law.
Mandating alcohol breath testing ignition interlock devices for everyone convicted of driving while intoxicated
In 2002, MADD announced an "Eight-Point Plan". This comprised:
Resuscitate the nation's efforts to prevent impaired driving.
Increase driving while intoxicated (DWI)/driving under the influence (DUI) enforcement, especially the use of frequent, highly publicized sobriety checkpoints.
Enact primary enforcement seat belt laws in all states.
Create tougher, more comprehensive sanctions geared toward higher-risk drivers.
Develop a dedicated National Traffic Safety Fund.
Reduce underage drinking.
Increase beer excise taxes to the same level as those for spirits.
Reinvigorate court monitoring programs.
One of MADD Canada’s top priorities is to reduce the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) down to .05%. It has drafted proposed legislation to this end and is actively promoting its passage.
Candy Lightner was the organizer and founding president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). In 1980, Lightner’s 13-year-old daughter, Cari, was killed by a drunken hit-and-run driver as she walked down a suburban street in California. Her daughter had broken almost every bone in her body and cracked her head open, leaveing her dead at the scene."I promised myself on the day of Cari’s death that I would fight to make this needless homicide count for something positive in the years ahead," Candy Lightner later wrote. A 1983 television movie about Lightner resulted in publicity for the group, which grew rapidly.
In the early 1980s, the group managed to attract attention from the United States Congress. At a time when alcohol consumption laws varied greatly by state, New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg was a notable early supporter. Lautenberg took exception to the fact that youth in New Jersey could easily travel into New York to purchase alcoholic beverages, thereby circumventing New Jersey's law restricting consumption to those 21-years-old and over. The group had its greatest success with the imposition of a 1984 federal law that required states to raise the minimum legal age for purchase and possession (but not the drinking age) to 21 or lose federal highway funding. After the United States Supreme Court upheld the law in the 1987 case of South Dakota v. Dole, every state capitulated.
In 1988, a drunk driver traveling the wrong way on Interstate 71 in Kentucky caused a head-on collision with a school bus. 27 people died and dozens more were injured in the ensuing fire. The Carrollton bus disaster in 1988 was one of the worst in U.S. history. In the aftermath, several parents of the victims became actively involved in MADD, and one became its national president.
In 1990, MADD introduced its "20 by 2000" plan to reduce the proportion of traffic fatalities that are alcohol-related 20 percent by the year 2000. This goal was accomplished three years early, in 1997. That same year, MADD Canada was founded.
In 1991, MADD released its first "Rating the States" report, grading the states in their progress against drunk driving. "Rating the States" has been released four times since then.
In 1999, MADD’s National Board of Directors unanimously voted to change the organization’s mission statement to include the prevention of underage drinking.
In a November 2006 press release, MADD launched its Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving: this is a four-point plan to completely eliminate drunk driving in the United States using a combination of current technology (such as alcohol ignition interlock devices), new technology in smart cars, law enforcement, and grass roots activism
 Drunk driving laws
Since the group's inception, thousands of anti-drunk driving laws have been passed. MADD also helped popularize the use of designated drivers, although at first it opposed the practice because it might enable non-drivers to consume more.
More recently, MADD was heavily involved in lobbying to reduce the legal limit for blood alcohol from BAC .10 to BAC .08. In 2000, this standard was passed by Congress and by 2005, every state had an illegal .08 BAC limit. MADD Canada has recently called for a maximum legal BAC of .05. Although many MADD leaders have supported a lower limit, MADD U.S. has not yet officially called for a legal limit of .05.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) supports legislation setting the illegal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit for adult drivers who have been previously convicted of DUI/DWI at .05 per se. This lower BAC limit shall apply to these offenders for a period of five years from date of conviction and they shall be required to provide a breath test if requested by an officer following a legal traffic stop.
MADD has successfully advocated, and continues to advocate, for the enactment of laws for even more strict and severe punishment of offenders of laws against driving under the influence, as well as laws against drinking and driving.
 Declines in drunk driving deaths
The death rate from alcohol-related traffic accidents has declined since the 1980s. According to 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. MADD has argued that the group's efforts have brought about this decrease, because it claims that alcohol-related fatalities declined more than did non-alcohol-related fatalities.
However, NHTSA's definition of "alcohol-related" deaths includes all deaths on U.S. highways involving drunk drivers, drunk victims, or both. In 2001, for example, the NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Reporting System estimated an annual total of 17,448 alcohol-related deaths. As a 2002 Los Angeles Times article noted, the NHTSA estimates for that year attributed only about 5,000 of those deaths to a drunk driver causing the death of a sober driver, passenger, or pedestrian (Vartabedian 2002). It should also be noted that vehicle safety has been improved since the 1980s, and this has likely resulted in a decrease in all auto fatalities, including alcohol-related deaths.
In 1999, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed the NHTSA figures widely cited by MADD and concluded that they "raised methodological concerns calling their conclusions into question". The statistics, the GAO report said, "fall short of providing conclusive evidence that .08% BAC laws were, by themselves, responsible for reductions in alcohol related fatalities." 
 Minimum drinking age laws
MADD argues that, given that the brain does not stop developing until the early 20s, alcohol consumption retards brain development and harms the parts of the brain responsible for judgment and memory. MADD also frequently cites NHTSA data as proof that a high drinking age has saved 22,798 lives since 1975 by reducing the number of fatalities involving underage drinking drivers.
However, evidence of harm to brain development is based on studies of rats and severe alcohol abusers rather than social drinkers. MADD's critics have pointed out that similar fatalities among the same age group in Canada have dropped by a similar proportion, despite the fact that Canada's drinking age remains at 18 or 19 depending on the province.
 Operating hours and availability of alcohol
MADD has generally taken the position that a decrease in the availability of alcohol will lead to a decrease in consumption, and therefore a decrease in drunk driving. However, a study concluded, "these findings indicate that county-level prohibition is not necessarily effective in improving highway safety".
Empirical research has also revealed that later closing hours are generally associated with lower alcohol-related traffic crashes and fatalities (Halstead, R. Novato woman testifies at state hearing. Marin Independent Journal, April 20, 2004; Gordon, A. Young drivers go to pot. Toronto Star, February 10, 2006; Later sales don't increase crashes, DWI arrests. Associated Press, March 1, 2005; Reilly, S. & Snider, J. Drinking five or more drinks in a day. USA Today, May 21, 2004)
Candy Lightner's departure
By 1985, many MADD leaders were calling for the criminalization of all driving after drinking any amount of alcoholic beverage. Ms. Lightner disagreed with this aim and said that police ought to be concentrating their resources on arresting drunk drivers, not those drivers who happen to have been drinking.
Lightner stated that MADD "has become far more neo-prohibitionist than I had ever wanted or envisioned … I didn't start MADD to deal with alcohol. I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving".
 Under-21 drinking
Retired sociologist David J. Hanson questions the effectiveness and relevance of MADD's insistence that minors and adults under age 21 should not drink alcohol. Hanson argues such policies possibly encourage underage and reckless drinking, since current public policy produces a supervision paradox where it can be difficult to assist and educate younger people in making responsible judgments about alcohol consumption; he compares the behavior of American youth to their European counterparts, who live in a society with "more liberal" consumption laws. Also, he believes that it encourages some younger people to drink, to show their contempt for a law they feel is unjust, since in most other countries, 18-year olds, and even minors, can consume alcohol legally, and that it would be safer to have them drinking legally in supervised environments.
According to Hanson, "research on the drinking age has not been able to verify a cause-and-effect relationship between the law and alcohol use or abuse." Hanson further notes, "Many studies show no relationship between the two variables while others report that some alcohol-related fatalities have shifted from the 18-20 age group to the 21-24 age group. When it comes to the effects of the drinking age, the most we can say is that the jury is still out."
 Civil liberty aspects
Radley Balko, a libertarian writer, talks about the possible social implications of some of MADD's policies. He writes, "In its eight-point plan to 'jump-start the stalled war on drunk driving,' MADD advocates the use of highly publicized but random roadblocks to find drivers who have been drinking. Even setting aside the civil liberties implications, these checkpoints do little to get dangerous drunks off the road. Rather, they instill fear in people who have a glass of wine with dinner, a beer at a ballgame or a toast at a retirement party." Others point to numerous extensive studies, i.e., from Australia and Tennessee, which indicate that consistent use of sobriety checkpoints over time result in significant decreases in the instances of impaired driving. Adherents of checkpoints emphasize that their major purpose is not to catch impaired drivers but is to sensitize motorists to the fact that law enforcement is actively enforcing the laws regarding impaired driving. In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the slight inconvenience to motorists is acceptable in light of the positive effect of such law enforcement efforts.
 Efficacy of MADD's proposals
 Breath alcohol ignition interlock devices
Main article: Breath alcohol ignition interlock device
Additionally MADD has proposed that breath alcohol ignition interlock devices should be installed in all new cars. Tom Incantalupo wrote "Ultimately, the group said yesterday, it wants so-called alcohol interlock devices factory-installed in all new cars. "The main reason why people continue to drive drunk today is because they can," MADD president Glynn Birch said at a news teleconference yesterday from Washington, D.C."
Sarah Longwell, a spokeswoman for the American Beverage Institute responded to MADD's desire to legislate breathalyzers into every vehicle in America by stating "This interlock campaign is not about eliminating drunk driving, it is about eliminating all moderate drinking prior to driving. The 40 million Americans who drink and drive responsibly should be outraged." She also points out that "Many states have laws that set the presumptive level of intoxication at .05% and you can't adjust your interlock depending on which state you're driving in. Moreover, once you factor in liability issues and sharing vehicles with underage drivers you have pushed the preset limit down to about .02%. It will be a de facto zero tolerance policy."
Some point out that the policy assumes that citizens are guilty of drunkenness and requires them to prove themselves innocent not only before they drive but repeatedly while they drive. 
A serious concern is that the devices might actually increase crashes. The "California Department of Motor Vehicle’s “An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Ignition Interlock in California” concluded that the devices “are not effective in reducing DUI convictions or incidents [after being imposed] for first-time DUI offenders.” (The study did show, however, that the risk of crashing was higher for offenders with a lock installed—perhaps because they were being asked to conduct breath tests while driving.) If the locks have no effect when imposed after a first DUI conviction—which presumably selects for the most likely drunk drivers—what is the chance that they will have an effect if foisted upon millions of people who simply want a new car?"  This concern may be allayed by the introduction of passive sensors installed in steering wheels.
 Victim impact panels
MADD promotes the use of victim impact panels (VIPs), in which judges require DWI offenders to hear victims or relatives of victims of drunk driving crashes relate their experiences. MADD received $3,749,000 in 2004 from VIPs; much of this income was voluntary donations by those attending as some states, such as California, do not allow a fee to be charged to offenders for non-legislative programs. Some states in the United States, such as Massachusetts, permit victims of all crimes, including drunk driving accidents, to give "victim impact statements" prior to sentencing so that judges and prosecutors can consider the impact on victims in deciding on an appropriate sentence to recommend or impose. The presentations are often emotional, detailed, and graphic, and focus on the tragic negative consequences of DWI and alcohol-related crashes. According to the John Howard Society, some studies have shown that permitting victims to make statements and to give testimony is psychologically beneficial to them and aids in their recovery and in their satisfaction with the criminal justice system. However, a New Mexico study suggested that the VIPs tended to be perceived as confrontational by multiple offenders. Such offenders then had a higher incidence of future offenses.
 MADD's mission
Some critics claim that MADD has shifted in emphasis from preventing DUI deaths and injuries to preventing underage alcohol use, and that this is undermining the organization's original goal, because MADD's leadership has stated that it's more important to stop drinking than it is to stop drunk driving fatalities. For example, the president of MADD, Glynn Byrch, wrote in a letter to the editor of the Washington Post:
Taking away a teenager's car keys and replacing them with a beer may prevent death and injury on the road, but it sends a dangerous message to teenagers that it's okay to break the law.
In 2005, John McCardell, Jr. wrote in The New York Times that "the 21-year-old drinking age is bad social policy and terrible law" that has made the college drinking problem far worse.
Many who are otherwise sympathetic to MADD's cause feel the organization has gone too far. Balko argued in a December 2002 article that MADD's policies are becoming overbearing. "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 effected the drop in fatalities since 1980, when Candy Lightner founded the group after her daughter was killed by a drunk driver," Balko wrote. "But MADD is at heart a bureaucracy, a big one. It boasts an annual budget of $45 million, $12 million of which pays for salaries, pensions and benefits. Bureaucracies don't change easily, even when the problems they were created to address change."[
 Blood alcohol content
MADD's critics point out that the organization is focused entirely upon the presence of alcohol in the body, rather than upon the actual danger posed by any impairment. The original drunk driving laws addressed the danger by making it a criminal offense to drive a vehicle while impaired — that is, while "under the influence of alcohol"; the amount of alcohol in the body was simply evidence of that impairment. With MADD's significant influence, however, all 50 states have now passed laws making it a criminal offense to drive with a designated level of alcohol, regardless of whether the driver is impaired or not. MADD then successfully lobbied to lower that original level of .10% down to .08%, and are actively working to lower it even further.
 Alleged conflict of interest
Balko criticizes MADD for not advocating higher excise taxes on distilled spirits, even though it campaigns for higher excise taxes for beer. He writes, "Interestingly, MADD refrains from calling for an added tax on distilled spirits, an industry that the organization has partnered with on various drunk driving awareness projects." MADD writes, "Currently, the federal excise tax is $.05 per can of beer, $.04 for a glass of wine and $.12 for a shot of distilled spirits, which all contain about the same amount of alcohol] Point 7 of MADD's 8-Point Plan is to "Increase beer excise taxes to equal the current excise tax on distilled spirits".[
 High fundraising costs
In 1994, Money magazine reported that telemarketers raised over $38 million for MADD, keeping nearly half of it in fees. This relationship no longer exists. Overall, MADD reports that it spends 17% of its budget on fundraising, which is below average for an advocacy organization that is heavily dependent on many individual contributions. However, the American Institute of Philanthropy notes that MADD categorizes much of its fundraising expenses as "educational expenses." The American Institute of Philanthropy has given MADD poor grades for its high bureaucratic and fundraising costs (MADD Money. Investigative report, K5 News, Seattle, WA.). In December 2001, Worth magazine listed MADD as one of its "100 best charities". Charity Navigator rates MADD as needing improvement.[
In December 2006, the Toronto Star reported that "Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada has such high costs that only about 19 cents of every dollar goes to victim services and the fight against drunk driving MADD had long claimed that about 84 cents of every dollar raised went to support its programs instead of 19 cents. The difference is because the organization was claiming its fundraising activities were also educating the public about drunk driving and, therefore, not fundraising costs.[
The American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) and similar groups have long insisted that such a practice is deceptive and unacceptable. An official of the Canada Revenue Agency's Charities Directorate, which regulates charities, says the practice is prohibited. A letter from the Canada Revenue Agency dated March 3, 2003, stated that MADD made "incorrect allocations of expenditures" and confused fundraising with charity. The letter warned MADD that to retain its charitable status it must not count as charity "amounts paid for purely fund-raising expenses such as door-to-door, direct mail, and telemarketing fees.".
However, MADD Canada’s head, Andrew Murie, insisted that its practice of counting payments to professional fundraisers as charitable work is one of “the acceptable principles of allocation of expenses" and that the regulator gave him permission to do so. The Charities Directorate specifically disputes his contention and says the practice is definitely not allowed.
Under intense pressure from its membership, MADD management agreed to conduct internal financial investigation but not to permit an outside audit.About a year later the corporation’s self-perpetuating board of directors admitted that MADD was wrong to have been counting tens of millions of dollars in fundraising expenses as charity and says it has now stopped the practice.
 MADD's opinion of opponents of sobriety checkpoints
MADD writes, that “opponents of sobriety checkpoints tend to be those who drink and drive frequently and are concerned about being caught”.[