Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is one of the strongest advocacy and lobbying groups behind some of the most draconian laws against driving while intoxicated (DWI). Recently, they have been focusing on the movement to legalize marijuana. As one recent interview indicates, MADD is more than willing to ignore facts in order to press their agenda. Unfortunately, these tactics put the lives and liberty of lots of people at significant risk.
MADD: Marijuana is the Leading Cause of Fatal Accidents
In an interview with reporters from Toronto's local CTV News station, the CEO of MADD-Canada Andrew Murie made a bold claim: “Cannabis presence is the leading cause of fatalities on our roadways.” However, the most comprehensive study on this issue by NHTSA demonstrates the opposite of MADD's false claim.
Where he and his organization have found proof that marijuana is not just a major cause but the leading cause of fatal car crashes in Canada is unknown. What is known is that numerous studies have indicated more or less the exact opposite: While marijuana legalization has been linked to a small increase in the number of total crashes, studies have found no change to the number of fatal accidents. In either case, the number of drugged driving crashes pales in comparison to crashes caused by, for example, distracted driving (e.g., texting and driving).
It is also unclear if MADD-Canada is saying that marijuana “is the leading cause” of fatal accidents as a percentage of accidents or as the total number of them. In fact, there is little known for certain about what MADD-Canada meant, at all – the comment was flippant and there was no explanation, whatsoever.
MADD's Scare Tactics Put People at Risk
MADD is no newcomer to the world of DWI –not just in Canada but in Texas. They have been around for decades and have amassed a stunning amount of influence in state capitals across the country, in large part because they wield plenty of single-issue voters that can threaten election outcomes.
However, as the organization's clout has increased, MADD has gone further and further to aggrandize the problem of DWI and push for steeper and steeper penalties for violators. Many states in the U.S. now have such steep penalties for first-time DWI offenders that people who made a simple mistake are seeing their lives being turned upside down with long license suspensions and even jail time. Some states explicitly single out DWI convictions as being ineligible for expunction (which Texas had until recently), even though more serious convictions can be sealed from the public eye.
Throughout, MADD's marketing efforts have gone a long way towards excessively stigmatizing people who have not just been convicted of drunk or drugged driving; they even target those who have been merely accused of the offense.
Houston's DWI Defense Lawyer, Doug Murphy
Combating the efforts of advocacy groups like MADD is not easy. They are massive organizations that exist for a sole purpose – eliminating the so-called problem of drunk driving. When the costs include the freedom and rights of other people, questions need to be asked and alternatives need to be explored.
Every day, Doug Murphy fights for those accused of DWI, including drugged driving, in Houston. Call his law office at (713) 229-8333 or contact him online.