Fighting drunken driving is everyone's job

Posted: Thursday, August 10, 2000

Last Saturday I took my turn manning a MADD table at a couple of local grocery stores. I noticed a lot of people averted their eyes and walked by after seeing our sign. Several proudly announced they supported MADD but did not wish to join. I'd like to take this opportunity to explain why we so desperately need a MADD chapter in our community and why we need you.

Although MADD stands for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, you don't have to be a mother to join. And MADD is not Mothers Against Drunks; we just don't want drunk drivers on our road. It's pretty simple.

Juneau needs MADD in the community because we should teach our children drinking and driving don't mix. It's vital they learn from an early age the two do not go together -- that it's OK to take the keys from your drunk buddy, it's not smart to get in the car with an intoxicated pal, and friends who drink and drive are not cool. By getting in the classrooms at all levels with this information we are planting seeds of a healthy and safe habit.

Unfortunately Juneau still has the attitude of ``kids will be kids.'' This is all fine and true when referring to nose rings and wearing shorts in December. But not drunk driving. Is this the message we want to send out -- since ``kids will be kids,'' it's OK to test drive after downing a few brewskis? This might not be what we mean but that's what they hear.

Every individual who signs up as a member of MADD contributes to the education of our young people by helping pay for the printed materials we pass out during our classroom talks. Elected officials look at our membership numbers to see if the community is truly supportive before considering our proposals. We won't carry much weight when we have to say, ``Well, Jane Doe and John Smith support us but decided not to join.''

So the next time you see us at our little tables with our little brochures and our little membership forms, I hope you remember: We are the nurse in your ER room, the waitress who serves your salad, the person filling your gas tank and the teller in your bank. We are everyday people who say to future generations, ``We make our roads safer for you.'' And we promise not to call your house during dinnertime.

Cindy Cashen is a member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

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