During my 32 years representing the injured victim, the number of my clients who have been made victims of drunk driving is sadly, but undeniably, on the rise.
That’s why the work of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has become the centerpiece of the solution. MADD is leading the crusade to attack this growing epidemic from all directions.Tougher criminal sanctions such as incarceration, driver license suspension, higher insurance premiums, court calls and penalties are not sufficient deterrents.
Not only does MADD support tougher legislation and offer compassionate counseling for the victims, they also provide education for today’s youth and law enforcement.
To assist MADD in the training of local police officers and first responders, I sponsored a death notification training series this spring for Northeastern Ohio. Unfortunately, most departments do not have an established protocol on how to inform a family that one of their loved ones has died.
To fill that void, Julie Leggett, executive director for the Northeastern Ohio MADD affiliate office, and I instituted a series of four tailor-made symposiums for over 800 law enforcement departments throughout Lake, Cuyahoga, Lorain and Geauga counties. The symposiums concluded just last week.
At these day-long seminars, officers benefited from expert speakers. The intent was that these individual officers would go back to their respective agencies and share what they have learned with their comrades in arms.
“This is just one of many things we are doing to turn the tide on driving while drunk,” said Julie Leggett. “The response of the officers has been fantastic. It has opened their eyes and given them sound procedures to rely on when they are called upon to inform a family that one of their loved ones has been killed.”
Understanding the needs of bereaved individuals and appreciating the complexities of the role of a notifier can be overwhelming. These seminars, I’m happy to say, have dealt with this head on.
As part and parcel of the training, I lectured on several related legal issues. The exchange that I had with the participants has been nothing short of stimulating.
I highly recommend that you get involved with MADD, whether through donation or calling Julie to see how you can participate.
Donating is as easy as texting. Just text “MADD” to 90999 to make an automatic $10 donation to MADD. The charge will just be included on your wireless bill. You can also donate at the MADD website, If you want to get involved with our local MADD activities, call at the Northeastern Ohio office, 216-265-9229.
Of course, the easiest and best way to get involved with MADD is simply to support their battle for a better future by being safe and being sensible on the roads.
And that’s something we can all do.