MADD and State Farm Partner to Protect Students from Riding with a Drinking Driver
DALLAS – Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) and State Farm® are encouraging teens to protect themselves and their friends from the dangers of underage drinking and related consequences—specifically, deaths and injuries resulting from riding in a car with a drinking driver.
A recent public opinion survey from MADD and State Farm polled 15-20 year olds across the country, asking questions about how much, how often and why they or their friends ride with a drinking driver. Results showed that one in four teens is willing to ride with a driver who has been drinking. The findings also revealed that one in three teens has been a passenger with a drinking driver in the past year; and of great concern, that 22 percent of the drinking drivers were friends under 21. In 2013, 378 youth (ages 15-20) were killed as passengers of a drinking driver—202 (53%) deaths were a result of riding with an underage drunk driver.
“I know all too well the devastating consequences that can occur as a result of underage drinking,” said MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church, whose 18-year-old son, Dustin, was killed while riding with an underage drunk and drugged driver. “We know that youth can either positively or negatively influence each other about alcohol. MADD is grateful to work with State Farm this October to keep our youth and entire communities safe from completely preventable consequences.”
Encouraging results from the MADD/State Farm survey showed that nearly all (90%) of the youth respondents would be willing to intervene with friends to help them not ride with a drinking driver, and 70 percent felt comfortable that their friendships would not at all be harmed by intervening.
The MADD/State Farm survey is consistent with the finds of a recent study from Pennsylvania State University’s Department of Biobehavioral Health, which shows that while most students don’t necessarily plan to ride with a drinking driver, they’re still at great risk to do so because they are “willing to” should the occasion arise. According to the study, youth play a lead role in influencing friends’ choices to ride with drinking drivers. The stronger students think their friends will disapprove of them riding with drinking drivers, the less likely they will actually do it.
“One of the most effective ways to prevent students from riding with a drinking driver is to show them that they can – and should – play an active role in positively influencing each other about this risky behavior; versus passively approving or failing to act when their friends are getting in cars with drivers who have been drinking alcohol. The ones who continue to take a stand are the true heroes,” said Dr. Robert Turrisi, Pennsylvania State University.
MADD’s underage drinking prevention programs – Power of Parents, Power of You(th), and Power of Community – work in tandem to make the prevention of underage drinking a community-wide priority. MADD’s Power of You(th) program, nationally presented by State Farm, empowers teens to resist peer pressure and influence other teens to make smart, healthy decisions about not drinking alcohol before they turn 21, and never getting in the car with anyone who has been drinking. MADD works with schools and community partners to promote Power of You(th) every October and throughout the year.
“These survey results indicate that MADD and State Farm are on the right track by showing teens that they have the ability to protect not only themselves, but their friends as well,” said Lisa Joyce, State Farm Public Affairs. “Power of You(th) provides a roadmap for teens to stay safe not only when they’re underage, but also as they mature and become the next generation of drivers.”
Download the Power of You(th) booklet and learn more at www.madd.org/powerofyouth.
About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is celebrating its 35th anniversary by creating a future of NO MORE VICTIMSTM. MADD is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every fifteen minutes through local MADD victim advocates and at 1-877-MADD-HELP. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® will end drunk driving through increased law enforcement, all offender ignition interlock laws and advanced vehicle technology. PowerTalk 21® is the national day for parents to talk with their teens about alcohol, using Power of Parents®’ proven approach to reduce underage drinking. Learn more by visiting MADD’s new website at madd.org or calling 1-877-ASK-MADD.
About State Farm®
The mission of State Farm is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto, home and individual life insurance in the United States. Its 18,000 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve more than 82 million policies and accounts – nearly 80 million auto, home, life, health and commercial policies, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 41 on the 2015 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com.