The Reputation of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)

David J. Hanson, Ph.D.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has grown from a small group of volunteers attempting to stop drunk driving into an enormous bureaucracy with highly-paid executives devoted to reducing not only drunk driving but drinking and driving and even responsible alcohol consumption among adults.

Following is a list of some of the many observations about MADD made by scholars, writers, historians, and other observers.


MADD "has turned into the new 'Women's Christian Temperance Union.'" Al Franken, liberal radio program host. 1

Madd is an "anti-alcohol group." Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 2

MADD's campaign is "anti-alcohol." Chronicle of Higher Education. 3

MADD is an "anti-alcohol advocate." Associated Press. 4

MADD is led by "neoprohibitionists." Jerry G. Munez, Seton Hall University 5

"MADD has a prohibitionsit agenda." Mimi Coffey, attorney. 6

MADD has a "neo-prohibitionist agenda." Chris Barry, Montereal Mirror. 7

MADD has "a neo-prohibitionist agenda." 8

MADD is guilty of "anti-alcohol hysteria." Brian Carnell. 9

MADD has "become anti-alcohol, pure and simple." Jerry D. Mead. 10

MADD has morphed from an anti-drunk-driving organization into an anti-alcohol organization." Laurence Simon. 11

MADD has an "anti-alcohol campaign." Prof. Jenny Edbaure, University of Texas. 12

MADD is "anti-alcohol." Dr. K. Roehrig, Ohio State University. 13

MADD is "led and driven by anti-alcohol fanatics." Gary Witzenburgh, Consumer Guide. 14

"the Women's Christian Temperance Union and the Anti-Saloon League spearheaded the constitutional prohibition effort. Groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) assume that mantle today." Hans G. Nichols. 15

MADD is an outgrowth of "the ideology of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union." J. Leitzel, University of Chicago. 16

MADD is 'the most effective temperance organization" in the U.S. since Prohibition's repeal. David Frum, Wall Street Journal. 17

"The Women's Christian Temperance Union has merely been replaced by MADD." Christopher T. Ivicevich. 18

MADD consists of "closet neo-prohibitionsists." Thomas Clough. 19

MADD supports "anti-alcohol legislation." Carol Bryant. 20

MADD is an "anti-alcohol group." Casey Grabenstein. 21

"One of the most powerful anti-alcohol lobbies is MADD." Shobba Tsering Bhalla. 22


From Mothers Against Drunk Driving: A Crash Course on MADD (XXX) are


"Mothers Against Drunk Driving may soon have to change its name to Mothers Against Any Drinking Whatsoever -- that is, if it wants to avoid false advertising." Washington Times. 23

"At the forefront of the neo-prohibitionist movement is MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving)." Dr. Thomas J. DiLorenzo of Washington University and Dr. James T. Bennett of George Mason University.

"Mothers Against Drunk Driving (has) decided to wage war on social drinkers." Radley Balko, Fox News columnist.

"MADD has morphed from an anti-drunk-driving organization into an anti-alcohol organization. Jim Reynolds, writer. 26

Mothers Against Drunk Driving "engages in a form of neoprohibitionism." Christian Restifo, Carnegie Mellon University. 27

Although Prohibition ended 70 years ago, "a new agenda of temperance is alive and well today at Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)." Charles V. Penna, MADD‚s former Northern Virginia Chapter Executive Director and now Director of policy studies at The Cato Institute.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving's "ongoing push to compel states to adopt ever-lower standards for being legally drunk‚ is becoming a prohibitionist jihad driven by hysteria, not medical reality." Washington Times. 29

A "prohibitionist movement (is) propagated by MADD." National Motorist Association. 30

"We believe their (MADD's) true agenda is prohibition." TalkLeft. 31

MADD has become "overzealous." Candy Lightner, founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. 32

"MADD continues to inflate the number of people killed by drunk drivers to further its prohibitionist agenda." Center for Consumer Freedom. 33

MADD's report is "chock full of inaccuries and errors," but MADD officials have refused to comment on them. Jerry McCory, Director of the Governor's Council on Impaired and Dangerous Driving. 34

Its "inflated drunk driving statistics confirm MADD's relevance and help it raise funds." Radley Balco, writer. 35

Mothers Against Drunk Driving "has basically become a propaganda mill churnig out false andmisleading statistics." Jay Caruso. 36

"MADD generally attempts to mask its radical, neo-prohibitionist agenda in the veneer of sound science and sober statistics." Charles V. Pena, former MADD official. 37

"MADD has become a ruthless lobby more concerned with prohibitionist legislation and punishment of drinkers than with improving road safety." Iain Levison. 38

"Criticizing MADD is like criticizing the pope. They do not lightly tolerate disagreement." LeCuyer. 39

"Nobody wants to be in MADD's bad graces." Bruce Freidrich, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). 40

"MADD is just totally spiteful." Palmer Didion, attorney. 41

Mothers Against Drunk Driving "threatened me." James Bostad, former MADD State Treasurer.

"MADD is a hate group, without question." Darlene J. Dowling, AFA.

"MADD is spiteful, vindictive, judgmental, holier than thou, self-righteous and obnoxious." Kevin.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving "displayed its contempt for civil liberties, as well as the judicial system, by calling for (a) judge to resign because she criticized a MADD-backed program she felt violated the constitutional rights of young adults." Center for Consumer Freedom. 45

"One must wonder has MADD gone mad?" Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. 46

"MADD is out of control." Talk Left. 47

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is guilty of "demogoguery." 48

"MADD has allowed its emotions to preempt its common sense, hoping, therefore, to drive up support for its cause." S. G. Michalides. 49

Mothers Against Drunk Driving spends most of its time in "self-perpetuating fund-raising efforts." The American Institute of Philanthropy. 50

"MADD has become big bucks, and that's it." "It's a big corporation." Sandy Kaufman, former MADD chapter President. 51

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is guilty of "dubious budget and fundraising tactics." (MADD deceptively lists fundraising mailings as educational activities rather than fundraising activities.) American Institute of Philanthropy. 52

"One of the worst performance records (on spending inordinately to raise money, then spending below-average amounts on their stated mission) goes to Mothers Against Drunk Driving." Daniel Puzzo describing MADD's low grade by the independent American Institute on Philanthropy. 53

"MADD uses viral e-mail to build (its e-mail) list." K. Brenner. 54

"MADD continues to deceive." National Motorists Association. 55


For more about MADD, visit Mothers Against Drunk Driving: A Crash Course on MADD ( and

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Resources (

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Comment? Questions? Contact Prof. David J. Hanson, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of Sociology
State University of New York
Potsdam, NY 13676
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This is a personal web page of David J. Hanson, who has received no financial support or other consideration from any agency, company, organization, group or person to post or maintain it.

Dr. Hanson has researched alcohol and drinking patterns and problems for over 30 years. With Dr. Ruth Engs of Indiana University, he conducted a series of pioneering nation-wide studies of collegiate drinking trends. Professor Hanson has received alcohol research grants from federal and state agencies, published over a dozen chapers in books on alcohol, prepared articles for several encyclopedias, and recently published two books on alcohol . His publications and scholarly papers number over 300 and textbooks in over a dozen different fields of study report his research.

Professor Hanson has served as alcohol consultant to the Canadian government and testified on Capitol Hill; his research has repeatedly been reported in the New York Times and other major newspapers, where he is frequently quoted; and he has appeared as an alcohol expert nationally on the "NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw," the "Dr. Laura" television program, the Fox News Channel, "CNN Saturday," National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" and "To the Best of Our Knowledge," the ABC national radio news and over fifty radio programs across the United States.


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1. Franken, Al. MADD media - I think they're just crazy.

2. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. ABI vs MADD on .08. Monthly Report, Issue IV, May, 1997. Substance Abuse Policy Research Program.

3. MADD prepared s to take its anti-alcohol campaign to college campuses. Chronicle of Higher Education, 3-1-01.

4. Associated Press. Anti-alcohol advocate goes after catalog. Dodge City Daily Globe, 7-25-98.

5. Munez, Johnny G. Case Study: Advertising Alcohol, Seton Hall University.

6. Douglas, Jim. DWI billboard sparks controversy. WFAA-TV, Dallas/Fort Worth, 4-22-04, 12:08 AM CDT.

7. Barry, Chris. Montreal Mirror, 2002.

8. I'd be Madd Too.

9. Carnell, Brian. Why all the furor over "Got...Beer?!" AnimalRights, 3-20-2000.

10. Mead, Jerry D. Mead on Wine, 1988.

11. Simon, Laurence. Temperance movement thoughts. The Rant, 1-6-03.

12. Edbauer, Jenny. Rhetoric 309: Writing and Movement course syllabus, University of Texas, 2003.

13. Roehrig, K. Alcohol and Society course syllabus, Ohio State University.

14. Witzenburgh, Gary. DWI laws: Out of control. Consumer Guide, 3-23-03.

15. Nichols, Hans G. U.S. drinking culture - getting drunk on rebellion. Insight on the News., 2003.

16. Leitzel, J. Eat, Drink, and be Merry for Tomorrow We're Dry: Banning Direct Shipmant of Wine, University of Chicago.

17. Frum, Dvid. When drinking was cool. Wall Street Journal, 11-6-2000.

18. Ivicevich. Review of Andrew Barr's Drink: A Social History.,com

19. Clough, Thomas.

20. Bryant, Carol. "Tie one on for safety": MADD chapter kicks off holiday campaign against drunk driving. The Independent, 11-20-98.

21. Grabenstein, Casey. PETA ads, "got beer?" Scene, 4-10-2000, vol. 33, #116.

22. Bhalla, Shobba Tsering. Take the fizz out of beer ads. Lycos Asia (Singapore), 12-16-02.

23. Power MADD (editorial), Washington Times, 3-6-00

24. DiLorenzo, T.J. and Bennett, J.T. The U.S. is becoming a nanny state. USA Today (Magazine), 1998 (May), 126(2636), 12-15.

25. Balko, R. Targeting Social Drinkers is Simply MADD, 12-10-02.
Perhaps because of its desire for revenge, Mothers Against Drunk Driving repeatedly opposes actions that protect peoples' individual rights under the US Constitution. See, for example, MADD May Fight Ruling, MADD and Protecting the Innocent, End Justifies Any Means? , and Alcohol Ad Ban. MADD has contempt for those who defend the rights of the accused, who are assumed by it to be guilty. Describing one defense attorney, a MADD leader said "He's infamous. Everybody in MADD knows about him. We don't welcome him in the community" because he's "spreading out his poisonous influence" in protecting basic constitutional rights. (Nolin, R. "Infamous" DUI lawyer expands into Volusia. The News Journal, 8-17-87.) On the other hand Mothers Against Drunk Driving has failed to identify a single instance during its entire long history when it ever defended the constitutional rights of even one individual (personal communication, MADD).

26. Reynolds, J. Electrolite, 1-6-03.

27. Restifo, C. neoprohibition gone mad. The Tartan, 9-23-02.

28. Prohibition Ends! (70 Years Ago Today): Has Anyone Told MADD?. PR Newswire Association,
press release, 4-11-03.

29. Power MADD(editorial), Washington Times, 3-6-00

30. National Motorist Association. Alcohol-Related Deaths Increase. National Motorist Association press release, 10-2-01.

31. MADD is Out of Control. TalkLeft: Liberal Coverage of Crime-Related Political and Injustice News, 1-12-03.

32. The Washington Times. Power MADD. The Washington Times, 3-6-00.

33. Center for Consumer Freedom, Drunk on Power,

34. Linder, C. MADD study criticizes Indiana, but state officials call report inaccurate. States News Service, press release, 11-21-02

35. Balco, Radley. Targeting the social drinker is just MADD. Los Angeles Times, 12-9-02.

36. Caruso, J. DAMM - MADD,

37. Pena, C.V. The Anti-Drunk Driving Campaign: A Covert War Against Drinking. Available at

38. Levison, I. In defense of drunk driving or at least an attack on drunk driving zealots, who want us to become a nation of teetotalers. Philadelphia Magazine, March, 2003, pp. 37-38.

39. LeCuyer, R. MADD is wrong about this one. North Country Times, 12-23-00.

40. Green, S.D. "Client Profile: MADD's efforts continue to drive into new territory" PR Week, 1-21-02, p. 8.

41. MADD at lawyer. National Law Journal, 1992 (March 9), 14(27), 2.

42. MADD Money investigative report, K5 News, Seattle, WA.

43. Dowling, Darlene J. MADD a Hate Group!. Armed Females of America (

44. Kevin, personal communication, 1-30-04. Kevin must remain anonymoous in order to protect his livlihood.


46. Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. MADD's Stance on Insurance Iniatives Hurts Victims of Drunk Drivers, Violates Nat'l Policy. Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights press release, 12-30-99.

47. Talk Left,, 1-12-03.

48. The Washington Times. Power MADD (House editorial). The Washington Times, 3-6-00.

49. Michalides, S. G. MADD from hell. Wine Trader, May, 1997.

50. LeCuyer, R. MADD is wrong about this one. North Country Times, 12-23-00.

51. MADD Money investigative report, K5 News, Seattle, WA.

52. Doyle, J. Tiny group grown into behemoth gone MADD. Pasadena Star-News,12-4-02.

53. Puzzo, D.P. Give and Taken. Restaurants and Institutions, 11-15-97.

54. Brenner, K. MADD uses viral e-mail to build list, DM News, 12-23-02.

55. National Motorists Association News, 3, #1. (

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