- DWI Prevention, Alcohol Treatment and Law Enforcement acknowledge the ongoing crisis
ALBUQUERQUE – Mothers against drunk driving® (MADD) New Mexico is hosting a DWI Prevention Awareness Day in the state capital on Friday, January 27 to remind the public of the ongoing impaired driving crisis in New Mexico.
Nearly 20 representatives from the fields of DWI prevention, alcohol treatment, law enforcement and families representing casualties/survivors will all be in attendance from 9am to 4pm to speak with lawmakers and the general public on this pervasive issue.
“We know that alcohol consumption has serious consequences that are unique to New Mexico,” said Executive Director Katrina Latka of MADD’s New Mexico affiliate. “Data from the New Mexico Department of Health tells us the alcohol-related injury rate is about twice the national average. Likewise, teenage drivers from New Mexico are more likely to get behind the wheel after drinking than any other US student. We shouldn’t lose our families in New Mexico to impaired driving — an act that is 100 percent preventable.”
MADD programs such as B. Underage alcohol prevention serving elementary school students and Victim Impact Panel presentations where victims of DWI crashes tell their stories to perpetrators of DWI crimes are just two ways MADD is working to fight the future and Repeat drunk driving cases in New Mexico.
Referring to the way law enforcement is working to prevent DWI offenses in the state, New Mexico State Police Deputy Chief Matt Broom stated that “Over the past 30 years, the state of New Mexico has made great strides in combating it plague-impaired driving was in our state. Whether by creating stricter laws, creating prevention and awareness programs, or making treatment programs available, our state is committed to addressing this generational issue and will continue to do so.”
Jennifer Mitchell, Administrator of the San Juan County DWI Program, who also serves as Director of Alternative Sentences for the San Juan County Division of Alternative Sentences, sheds light on DWI prevention programs that are working to address this issue at the local level.
“DWI programs work hard every day to reduce the incidence of DWI statewide. We provide quality, essential services in our local communities that deserve to be highlighted and recognized,” Mitchell said.
Lea County DWI Director Kelly Livingston, Chair, NMC DWI Affiliate and Chair, NM LDWI Grant Council, highlighted an emerging issue that she hopes this event will help bring to light: the legalization of the recreational use of Cannabis and its Effects on New State Highways of Mexico.
“Every year people needlessly die or are seriously injured on our county and state roads because someone made the decision to consume alcohol and/or drugs and then get behind the wheel,” Livingston said. “With the passage of cannabis into New Mexico, while it may be legal for recreational use, it is still illegal to drive under the influence of cannabis. The New Mexico DWI Affiliate, in partnership with MADD, is on a mission to reduce the incidence of disruptive driving to ensure New Mexico’s roads are safe for our residents and visitors. We provide a continuum of services through our treatment, prevention, surveillance and enforcement departments. Please take a moment to come to the Roundhouse and learn about our teams dedicated to eliminating drunk and drug driving in New Mexico and learn more about our programs.”
The partner organizations gathering on DWI Awareness Day all hope to draw attention to the ongoing problem of impaired driving in New Mexico, but also to the existence of local, regional and statewide resources to provide support.
“We still have work to do and I encourage everyone to get involved and educate,” said Matt Broom. “The New Mexico State Police and all of our other law enforcement agencies are just one piece of the puzzle. We all have to do our part to ensure that driving on our roads is not affected.”
About Moms Against Drunk Driving:
Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit dedicated to ending drink driving, to end drug driving to support the victims of these violent crimes and to prevent underage drinking . MADD has helped save over 390,000 lives, reduced drunk-driving deaths by more than 50 percent, and promoted the designation of a drunk driver. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® calls for law enforcement support, ignition locks for all offenders and advanced vehicle technology. MADD has provided free supportive services to nearly one million drunk and drugged drivers and survivors through local victim advocates and the 24-hour victim helpline, 1-877-MADD-HELP. Visit www.madd.org or call 1-877-ASK-MADD.