Drunk driving prevention advocates walk for awareness, stricter laws

The 2023 Walk Like MADD event kicks off at 8am from Kakaako Waterfront Park.
Published: Sep. 17, 2023 at 6:12 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) hosted its annual fundraising walk event on Saturday at Kakaako Waterfront Park to raise awareness about the devastating impact of drunk driving.

The opening ceremony featured an emotional speech from Gov. Josh Green and First Lady Green along with a call for action from MADD’s national founder Tess Rowland, who was hit by a drunk driver back in 2021.

“Nationally 10,000 of our loved ones in America every year are killed by drunk drivers. In Hawaii, it’s about 40 that we lose,” Gov. Green said in his speech. “That can happen to anyone. We have to stop it... and with the policy we can hopefully take down these numbers.”

Green is in support of changing the blood alcohol content threshold for impaired driving lower from 0.8 to 0.5.

“This is a chance for us to walk for those who can’t celebrate those who are learning to walk and truly honor victims and survivors,” Rowland said. “Drunk driving isn’t an accident, it isn’t a mistake, it’s a choice and it’s 100 percent preventable.”

Rowland said that the crash was life changing and changed her perspective on drunk driving.

“I had a choice in the hospital room to get bitter or get better and I chose to get better and ensure that though I couldn’t change what happened to me. I wanted to create a world in which there are no victims of drunk driving,” Rowland said.

Activities included zumba dancing, a bagpipe ceremony and visiting the memorial site made for victims.

MADD says it helped cut down the death rate of drunk driving by 50% and has served 900,000 victims, of which 400,000 have been saved.

MADD has multiple organizations all over the U.S and hopes Hawaii can lead by being the second state to implement the lower threshold policy.

For more information on how to get involved, visit walklikemadd.org.