The DOT and its safety partners have worked hard to achieve several year over year reductions in traffic fatalities in America, but we know our work is far from finished. One of the most pressing challenges we have is continuing to combat drunk driving. Today, one-third of all fatal crashes on our roadways involves alcohol impaired driving.
In an ongoing effort to stop this deadly epidemic, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is currently conducting its annual Labor Day enforcement crackdown on drunk driving. August is the most deadly period of the year when it comes to drunk driving, and we want to make sure people are safe throughout the rest of the busy summer driving season.
Next Monday, I will join with state police and safety advocates to talk about the importance of these law law enforcement crackdowns on drunk driving -- as well as to launch an exciting new phase in our anti-drunk driving efforts. And I'm looking forward to being joined by one of our most crucial allies in this fight--Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Their advocacy on behalf of drunk driving victims and the safety of the traveling public has been so successful over the last thirty years that the White House recently named MADD a "Champion of Change."
And today I want to highlight the efforts of the person leading their charge--Jan Withers, the new President of MADD. When I first met with Jan last month, it didn't take long for me to realize that she will be a strong ambassador for one of America's most effective safety organizations.
Jan brings a wide range of experience to the MADD presidency. She first joined MADD in 1992, after the tragic loss of her 15-year-old daughter, Alisa Joy, who was killed by an underage drunk driver. Since then, she says, “I’ve made it my life’s work to support the victims and survivors of drunk driving crashes.
Jan has been on the MADD National Board of Directors since 2005, and also serves on the MADD Maryland Operations Council, where she is a certified victim advocate and certified trainer for MADD Victim Services.
MADD CEO Kimberly Earle said of Jan, “During her nearly 20 years as a MADD volunteer, Jan has demonstrated an exceptional ability to connect with those who have been through the unimaginable devastation of a drunk driving crash.”
Jan was also instrumental in developing MADD's PowerTalk 21 Day, a national day for parents to talk to their kids about the dangers of drinking and driving. She knows firsthand the importance of helping parents have lifesaving conversations with their teens and the tragic consequences of not having that conversation.
As MADD National President, Jan will help continue to pave the way for improving safety on our roads. She will be a key spokesperson for MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, which calls for high-visibility law enforcement, ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, and advanced technology to turn cars into the cure for drunk driving. And she will be a key partner for DOT.
Please join me in welcoming Jan Withers as President of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. And remember to check back in with FastLane next week as we officially launch a new phase in our anti-drunk driving campaign.