MADD Creates New Online Tools for Victims of Drunk Driving

The fight against drunk driving has not always been a popular cause. It was not until Mothers Against Drunk Driving came on the scene that citizens began to clamor for stronger laws against impaired driving. One of the ways MADD changed the public’s understanding of the problem was to focus on the victim. The organization stressed the idea that drunk driving was a criminal act, and the crime had victims: mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, family and friends whose lives were torn apart because of a thoughtless act.

MADD-logo1Today MADD is continuing not just to publicize the plight of victims but to help them in a number of ways. The organization has just announced a new Facebook Group exclusively for victims and survivors of drunk and drugged driving. Those whose lives have been affected can check in and seek information and support.

To render more direct help, MADD also offers a new online chat feature on their website, accessible from the home page or the Victim Services page. During regular business hours victims and survivors can contact a Victim Services member who will counsel you on matters such as coping physically and emotionally with the aftermath, and also on obtaining legal and other assistance.

These groups are only for victims and survivors. Others who want information about anti-drunk-driving efforts can to to, where they will find a great deal of information and resources.

We hope that many victims and survivors of drunk driving who have not yet sought help will find that the convenience and immediacy of the new online tools suits their needs. If your life has been affected by a drunk driver, MADD is there for you, just a phone call or a click away.

Help! My Ignition Interlock is Draining My Battery!

When you first get your ignition interlock, you are given instructions on how to pass tests and keep yourself on the road safely and legally. But there are a few more things you should know to make sure that your ignition interlock program goes smoothly.

battery-indicatorOccasionally an interlock user will have problems with a battery that seems to drain too fast. The fault could be a defective device, but 99 out of 100 times it’s caused by an old battery or defective alternator. The problem might not have been noticed until the interlock was installed. Fortunately, the situation is easily avoidable. Here’s what you need to remember:

Your Vehicle is Always Awake

Even when parked in the garage, your vehicle is using power. Most accessories (including your clock and your radio) draw a tiny amount of electricity. An alarm or GPS unit will also draw power. That means that eventually your battery will die if you don’t charge it regularly by driving.

Battery-Drain-On-Ignition-InterlockAn Ignition Interlock is Just an Electronic Accessory

Just like a car alarm, an ignition interlock is an accessory wired into your car’s electrical system The device draws about the same amount of power that your car radio does in order to keep your station settings. It’s a tiny amount, but that amount is nonetheless vital.

Your Battery Needs to be Good

This is true whether or not you have an ignition interlock, but if you do, it’s even more vital. Any new battery should give you four years. If you live in a very cold climate, replace it after that. If not, you should still keep an eye on it, because a failure can lead to hassles.

Your Alternator Needs to be Good Too

If your starter isn’t cranking as quickly as it should, or if battery power is down, it might be the alternator, the part of your car that charges the battery as it’s running. Both the battery and the alternator have to be in great shape if you’ve got any extra electronic accessories in your car. Have the alternator checked.

You Must Drive Your Vehicle 2 – 3 Times a Week

Even if you haven’t planned on driving, you’ll need take a spin in your vehicle 2 or 3 times a week, to keep the battery topped up. This applies whether you have an ignition interlock or an inboard DVD player. Accessories use a little power, and while your battery is up to the task, it must be charged regularly.

That’s it. Treat your interlock like any electronic accessory, keep your battery charged, and you’ll never have a problem starting up.

New LifeSafer Provider: MTA Tire Factory, Carlsbad New Mexico

MTA Tire Factory of Carlsbad New Mexico - The latest LifeSafer Ignition Interlock providerFast and reliable service is the motto of MTA Tire Factory of Carlsbad New Mexico. This respected auto shop provides customers not just with tires, but also a full range of mechanical work. And now, LifeSafer is proud to welcome MTA Tire Factory as an ignition interlock provider.

MTA serves not only Carlsbad but also customers in Hobbs, Artesia, and other towns in Eddy County. Owner Trace Ryan and his staff will provide all your ignition interlock needs: installation, training, monitoring, and service.

With six bays and four mechanics, MTA will get to your vehicle without delay. The shop services  semis and tractors as well as passenger vehicles.

Like every LifeSafer provider, MTA Tire Factory can be counted on to provide top-flight professional service. Courtesy and attention to detail are standard. The Tire Factory is easy to find – right near the airport – and they’ll be happy to serve you.

Looking to install an ignition interlock Carlsbad New Mexico? Call 800-304-0508 or go here to book your appointment at MTA Tire Factory. They’ll have you back on the road in no time.

Your Hump-Day Recess: Buzzed Driving Ruins Your Love Life

In the 20th Century ads about drunk driving were dark things indeed. Crashes, lights, sirens, hospital gurneys – the message was always about the ultimate cost of buzzed driving (then only called drunk driving): the tragedy of the crash.

In recent years the emphasis has shifted – at least in part – to the cost of a DUI arrest, rather than the physical dangers of impaired driving. And since young people are particularly likely to drink and drive, public service messages tend to emphasize the social cost. To wit, a DUI can make you a bad date. No money, no car, living at home – it doesn’t exactly add up to a great catch.


Your Hump Day Recess: Every Wednesday LifeSafer brings you something a little different, related to the worlds of road safety, to ease your progress over Hump Day and through the week.
Previous Hump Days: a German Ignition Interlock spoof from 1960, our Top 10 Worst Crash Tests, a different kind of Anti-DUI message, Budweiser’s dogged anti-DUI campaign, How Not to Dodge a Parking Ticket, the world’s worst traffic jams, a dramatic buzzed driving PSA , an offbeat ad from New Zealand, the world’s worst car modification, Vince and Larry, our favorite crash test dummies, a karaoke microphone breathalyzer, extraterrestrial advice on drunk driving, and some excellent Soviet anti-drunk-driving posters

In Texas, a Mock Crash Teaches Students the Horrors of Drinking and Driving

If some high school juniors and seniors in San Antonio look as if they just lost their best friend, it’s because, in a way, they have. Last month a program called Shattered Dreams has given them a vivid demonstration of the harm that drinking and driving can do.

Mock crash shows Texas students the horrors of drinking and drivingThe program staged a grisly, realistic collision using student actors. The scene included mangled cars, police, paramedics, and realistically simulated injuries and death.

To the observers at Reagan High School, the scene looked terrifyingly real, down to the blood, the sirens, and the stretchers. One of the student drivers was handcuffed and taken to jail.

Shattered dreams was devised by The Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission 20 years ago, with a view toward replacing the traditional warnings about alcohol and crashes with a visual demonstration that causes a visceral reaction in people. The campaign fosters the realization that drinking and driving can be a matter of life and death.

Teenagers are a notoriously difficult group to reach. They are risk-prone, impulsive, and they lack good judgment. Worse, they tend to believe they are invincible. All of these factors cause typical warnings to fall on deaf ears. Hence Shattered Dreams, in which lectures and finger-wagging give way to a vivid image of the horrors that drinking and driving lead to.

Judging by the reactions of the students, the message of Shattered Dreams hits home. Kudos to the many agencies that collaborated in this dramatic and effective program.

No Taxis? No Uber? No Problem: One New Mexico Town Fights Drunk Driving with a Bus.

Call a taxi. Summon Uber with your smartphone. Hop a city bus or a subway train. All good ways to avoid a DWI – if they’re available where you live.

New Mexico Bus Fights Drunk DrivingWhat if you’re in a tiny rural town in New Mexico, with a population of ten thousand, and nary a taxi in sight? Your options are limited.

One town has figured out an answer. Silver City, New Mexico offers weekend partiers the Corre Cantinas bus, a shuttle that will ferry drinkers home from a big night out safely. The cost: $3.50 per person each way.

The county subsidizes the cost of the buses, which have reduced the number of alcohol-related crashes on days that it operates. Unfortunately, it’s only available on weekends, but the reduction in crashes – and fatalities – speaks for itself.

Corre Cantinas is a reminder that a functioning mass transport system – even one that only operates two nights a week – is one of the most effective protections against drunk driving.  The important point is that the alternatives have to be easily available, reasonably priced, and top-of-mind (because people who have been drinking often aren’t thinking clearly). It helps that the service has been going for ten years, and is well-known (locals call it the “drunk bus”).

Should more small towns adopt Silver City’s idea? We can’t think of a wiser use of public funds.

Is Stopping Drunk Drivers a Waste of Police Officers’ Time?

Recently a drunk driver hit the news in Pennsylvania, not because of what she did but because of what she said. Having been pulled over for speeding and then slamming
on the brakes – a standard indicator that police use to spot intoxicated drivers – the woman told her arresting officers, “You all (are) rookies. Go take care of someone that’s getting robbed and do your job by keeping people from getting murdered.”

Police-Patrol-DUIThe implication is that the DUI arrest was a distraction from real police work – arresting robbers and murderers.

We probably shouldn’t put too much stock in what a drunk driver says to her arresting officer, but it’s true that some people think that stopping drunk drivers should not be a priority for law enforcement. Impaired or not, a good number of drivers who are detained under suspicion of DUI, or at a DUI checkpoint, think they are being picked on, and that the police are wasting time. Presumably they should be out preventing murders.

But consider this: in 2013 (a year for which stats are easily available), there were 594 murders in Pennsylvania, and 1208 road fatalites. And while less than 400 of those were due to drinking, there were more than 11,000 alcohol-related vehicle crashes in Pennsylvania in that year. Crashes in which alcohol are involved are almost five times more likely to result in death than crashes in which alcohol is not a factor.

Still think stopping drunk drivers is a waste of police time?

Finally, we must note that death and injury resulting from drunk driving is completely preventable, and the efforts of organizations, educators and the police have helped bring down the numbers dramatically. The use of ignition interlocks, which prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking, has also helped reduce recidivism. It’s hard to think of public initiatives that can cut down the rates of other crimes so drastically.

So the police are doing the right thing by arresting drunk drivers. And if this still bothers you, there’s an easy way to avoid the whole issue: drink, or drive, but never do both.

Welcome to LifeSafer: La Grande Stereo and Music, La Grande Oregon

A Full Array of Car and Home Stereo, and Ignition Interlocks, at La Grande Stereo and MusicWhen you pull up to La Grande Stereo and Music, it’s clear that your sound needs will be taken care of. Not only do they offer a full line of home and car audio and home theater, they also sell an array of guitars, musical instruments, and accessories. And they are now the most recent addition to the LifeSafer family of ignition interlock providers.

La Grande has been serving motorists since the mid-1970s. A family business, La Grande serves the town of that name, and also surrounding towns in the northeast corner of the state, including Pendleton and Baker.

They offer installation, monitoring, servicing and training on LifeSafer ignition interlocks – everything you need to get up and running quickly, legally, and safely. With 4 bays and two technicians on duty at all times, they can get you in and out efficiently.

Need an Interlock? Whatever model of car you have, La Grande Stereo and Music will handle it.What makes La Grande special? Kris Mallory, son of proprietor Mike Mallory, says, “This is a family business. When you’ve been operating for 40 years in a town of 12,000, you have to be dedicated to people.

If you need an ignition interlock i La Grande Oregon – or some strings for your Fender Stratocaster – La Grande Stereo and Music will take care of you. You’ll find them at 111 Fir Street, in the “biggest building in La Grande.”

Looking to install an ignition interlock in La Grande Oregon? Call 888-855-0630 or go here to book your appointment at La Grande Stereo and Music. That’s all you need to know to be back behind the wheel.

Your Hump-Day Recess: More Soviet Anti Drunk Driving Posters

Soviet Anti Drunk Driving Poster: "The Price of a Glass"

“The Price of a Glass”

Russia’s relationship to alcohol is a curious one. The government instituted prohibition in 1914, yet alcoholism remained rampant. Eventually the state took over production of alcohol, even as it promoted temperance. It wasn’t until Khruschchev that a real struggle against alcohol and drunk driving began in the late 1950s, with limited success. Then Mikhail Gorbachev made the issue of alcoholism the government’s first priority. In addition to restricting the amount of alcohol sold and the times and places it could  be consumed, the Soviet government used one of its favorite media – the propaganda poster – to get across the idea that drinking and driving were harming society, commerce, and the country in general.

Soviet anti drunk driving poster: "Drunkenness - No!"

“Drunkenness – No!”

Alas, the campaign was a bust. In fact, one of its unexpected effects was a serious shortage of sugar, since illicit home distillers needed it to make moonshine. Drinking continued, and so did drunk driving.

Soviet anti drunk driving poster: "Don't Drink!"

“Don’t Drink!”

The standard approaches to the offense – license suspension, jail, and fines – do not work well, since drinking is so entrenched in the culture. Perhaps it’s time to introduce the ignition interlock to Russia and the other former Soviet republics.

What remains of Gorbachev’s good intentions are the posters, fine examples of Soviet graphic design that were asked to do a job that no poster could do on its own.

Your Hump Day Recess: Every Wednesday LifeSafer brings you something a little different, related to the worlds of road safety, to ease your progress over Hump Day and through the week.
Previous Hump Days: a German Ignition Interlock spoof from 1960, our Top 10 Worst Crash Tests, a different kind of Anti-DUI message, Budweiser’s dogged anti-DUI campaign, How Not to Dodge a Parking Ticket, the world’s worst traffic jams, a dramatic buzzed driving PSA , an offbeat ad from New Zealand, the world’s worst car modification, Vince and Larry, our favorite crash test dummies, a karaoke microphone breathalyzer, and extraterrestrial advice on drunk driving

Maryland State Police Are On Board – Ignition Interlocks Save Lives

Maryland-State-Police-Support-InterlocksWe are used to seeing the families of drunk driving crash victims speak out for stronger ignition interlock laws. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.

Public safety advocates like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have been vocal advocates of interlocks as well. In Maryland both victims’ families and MADD have testified in favor of new bills in the House and Senate which would require car breathalyzers for all DUI offenders. This measure is known to reduce alcohol-related road deaths.

Another group who are not often heard from, but who also tend to support the devices, are law enforcement personnel. Maryland State Troopers are behind House Bill 423 and Senate Bill 212. Senior Trooper William Talbert recently testified to the judiciary committee on the effectiveness of interlocks.

two-ways-to-stop-drunk-driverThere are only two ways to stop a drunk driver: with a police car, or an ignition interlock. The latter leave the police free to do other important work. A lot of police resources are spent dealing with repeat drunk drivers.

As long as a first offender has an interlock installed, he or she will not become a second offender.  The other alternative – license suspension – works poorly. Troopers regularly arrests motorists who have ignored their suspension, and sometimes they are drunk as well. Those who obey the suspension are often burdened with unnecessary hardships.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police has supported ignition interlocks since 2007. Now it’s up to the Maryland legislature to pass this much-needed road safety bill.