Mothers against Drunken Driving (MADD)
Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Candace Lynne Lightner, also known as Candy Lightner, is well recognized as being the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) (Overbey, 2006). Having been born in the year 1946 in Pasadena, California, Candace graduated from high school and proceeded to enroll in American River College in Sacramento where she also graduated (Lerner, 2011). She later married Steve Lightner and went on to have three children. When her daughter was an infant, Lightner’s car was involved in an accident where it was rammed into from behind by a drunken driver. Fortunately, Serena, the daughter, suffered minor injuries. However, six years down the line, Lighter’s son, Travis, was run over and seriously injured where he suffered numerous broken bones in the process (Levinson, 2002). He went into a coma but unfortunately received permanent brain damage. Travis was run over by an unlicensed driver who was impaired by tranquilizers while driving and what is perhaps most shocking is the fact that the driver did not receive a single ticket following the accident (Overbey, 2006). Discussion
Looking at the history of Lightner, one might say that luck was not on her side especially where her children were concerned due to the numerous misfortunes they were experiencing. As if that was not enough, Lighter’s 13 year old daughter, Cari, was one day in 1980 walking in her neighborhood in Fair Oaks on her way to church for a carnival (Lerner, 2011). She was suddenly hit from behind by a drunken driver who had apparently momentarily passed out then woke up and drove off after having murdered Cari (Levinson, 2002). Her body had been thrown a number of feet and was so badly damaged that not even her organs could be given up for donation. On conducting an investigation on the driver, it was revealed that the offender was a repeat DWI who had been released on bail for a hit and run drunken driving crash merely two days before killing Cari (Overbey, 2006). It was also his 5th offense in a span of four years. Four days after the tragedy and while in mourning for her daughter a day after her funeral, Lightner started the Mothers Against Drunk Driving in her den. Lightner had also just received news from the police that the man who committed the crime would not even spend time in jail and this brought about so much rage within her, leading her to establish MADD (Lerner, 2011). The main aim or purpose of starting this particular organization was to be able to bring about public awareness of the serious nature of drunken driving in addition to promoting tough legislation against this particular crime (Levinson, 2002). The key issue that led to the creation of MADD was drunken driving, a problem that was also identified as being a social problem. As a response to her experience, Lightner formed MADD so as to help victims of crimes carried out by people driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, to increase public awareness on the problem and to help the families of such victims (Overbey, 2006). Before Lightner’s crusade, intoxication was not taken seriously and some comedians even went to the extent of making a career of impersonating drunken individuals on stage. Her perceptive approach was to put human faces on the victims of drunk drivers where statistics were more than just a collection of numbers (Lerner, 2011). Lightner helped individuals come to the realization that deaths caused by drunk driving were actually not an inevitability that could be accepted. The logic as well as emotional impact involved in the MADD resulted to a dramatic transformation with regards to public attitudes toward drunken driving which was now seen as being socially unacceptable (Levinson, 2002). A few policies were created as a result of MADD’s influence even though quite a number of problems were also experienced while...
References: Lerner, B.H. (2011). One for the Road: Drunk Driving Since 1900. Baltimore: JHU Press.
Levinson, M.H. (2002). The Drug Problem: A New View Using the General Semantics Approach. Westport: Praeger.
Overbey, C. (2006). Drinking and Driving War in America. Johannesburg: Lulu.com.
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