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Hundreds of MADD Supporters Meet in St. Louis on Sept. 6-8

Activists Focus on MADD's new frontier:

the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving

ST. LOUIS, Sept. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On the heels of Labor Day weekend -- a holiday that traditionally brings large numbers of drunk drivers -- nearly 500 Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) supporters have convened in St. Louis to kick off their annual national conference today at the Renaissance St. Louis Grand and Suites Hotel 800 Washington Ave, St. Louis, Mo. The conference theme is, "Gateway to a New Frontier: A Nation Without Drunk Driving." The focus of the conference is MADD's new Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving and the annual Victim/Survivor Tribute, along with discussions on the prevention of underage drinking and more than 50 concurrent training sessions.

The national conference unites members of MADD affiliates across the country to share ideas and learn more about methods to eliminate drunk driving, serve victims/survivors and prevent underage drinking. With the new Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, the gathering will highlight techniques and technologies that can eliminate drunk driving, and will honor law enforcement personnel who are the key to achieving that goal.

Leading the conference and the charge to eliminate drunk driving is MADD dad Glynn Birch whose 21-month old son, Courtney, was killed by a drunk driver in 1988. "If the repeat drunk driver that killed my son would have had an ignition interlock on his vehicle, my tragedy would not have occurred," said Birch. He is passionate about the Campaign which embraces innovative steps such as mandated ignition interlock systems to prevent a drunk driver from driving after drinking.

The Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving has four elements: full implementation of alcohol ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, intensive high-visibility law enforcement, development of advanced vehicle technologies to prevent drunk driving and grassroots support led by MADD and its 400+ affiliates.

"The heart of MADD has always been - and will always be - the victim/survivors that we represent and serve," he added. "We believe that one of the best services that we can offer victims is to ensure that no more families face the devastating ripple effects of drunk driving. MADD's Campaign gives all families real hope for a future with no drunk driving."

Birch speaks at the Victim/Survivor Tribute on Thursday night that honors and celebrates the lives of those killed and injured due to drunk driving. The annual Tribute includes a slideshow featuring photographs of loved ones and is accompanied by music, poetry readings and inspirational messages.

Other conference highlights include:

- The 5th annual Media Awards Luncheon on Friday where MADD will

recognize excellence in journalism that advances its mission to stop

drunk driving, serve victims of this violent crime and prevent

underage drinking.

- A mock Town Hall Meeting on Saturday morning will provide a glimpse

into the importance of the 21 Minimum Drinking Age Law.

- A demonstration of a typical DUI Trial that will include officer

testimony, the standardized field sobriety test, direct and cross

examinations, standards of proof, common drunk driving defenses and

courtroom procedures.

- At Saturday night's annual President's Awards dinner, MADD leaders

will honor MADD activists and offices for their outstanding work to

advance MADD's lifesaving mission.

The 2007 MADD National Conference sponsors are Ford Motor Company and the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC). OVC helped to make it possible for law enforcement nationwide to attend the conference and assisted with MADD's victim/survivor tribute. Additionally, CDR Fundraising sponsored break refreshments for conference participants. MADD's 5th Annual Media Awards program is sponsored by Nationwide Insurance and Volkswagen of America, Inc. Birch said, "MADD is very grateful for the outstanding sponsors that so generously support our lifesaving work."

Each year, nearly 13,500 people are killed in traffic crashes involving a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or above and nearly 17,500 people have died in alcohol-related traffic crashes. In Missouri, there were 380 drunk driving fatalities and 500 alcohol-related traffic crashes.

About MADD

MADD has helped save more than 330,000 lives since its founding 1980. With approximately 400 offices nationwide, licensees in Australia, Canada, Japan, Puerto Rico and Sweden and 2 million members and supporters, MADD is the premier grassroots organization working to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime and prevent underage drinking. For more information, visit or call 1-800-GET-MADD.


Thursday, Sept. 6 Opening Dinner: Where the Spirit of MADD

takes Flight - Majestic Ballroom

E & D - 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Fly on the wings of MADD's spirit with an

uplifting tribute to MADD volunteers and

law enforcement partners. These

innovators embody the spirit of MADD who

have blazed new trails in their dedication

to save lives and prevent injuries.

Officers in attendance are encouraged to

wear their uniform to this dinner that is

in their honor.

Speakers: Glynn R. Birch, MADD National

President Jim Champagne, Executive

Director, Louisiana Highway Safety

Commission, Former Chairman of Governors

Highway Safety Association

Thursday, Sept. 6 Victim/Survivor Tribute: A Celebration

of Life Roberts Orpheum Theater 8:00 p.m.

To celebrate the lives of those killed and

injured in drunk driving crashes and to

help comfort victims/survivors, MADD

Victim Services will host its annual

Victim/Survivor Tribute that include a

slideshow featuring photographs of loved

ones and is accompanied by music, poetry

readings and inspirational messages.

This special event will be held at the

Roberts Orpheum Theater, which is located

across the street from the Renaissance

St. Louis Grand & Suites Hotel at the

corner of 9th Street and St. Charles.

Immediately following the tribute, a

reception will be held at the Renaissance

St. Louis Grand & Suites Hotel near the

Wall of Honor. Punch and cookies will be


Speaker: Glynn R. Birch, MADD National


Friday, Sept. 7 MADD Media Awards Luncheon

Majestic Ballroom E & D - 11:45

A moving magazine article or poignant news

segment can help alter public attitudes

and increase community awareness about

drunk driving and underage drinking

issues. The media has long been a critical

partner to MADD's success and that is why

we celebrate excellence in journalism at

our annual Media Awards Luncheon. Join us

in honoring the best of the best.

Speakers: Deborah Duncan, KHOU-TV, Houston

& MADD National Board

Paul Folkemer, MADD Chairman of the Board

Glynn R. Birch, MADD National President

Saturday, Sept. 8 Breakfast Program: Defending the 21

Drinking Age Law:

A Town Hall Discussion

Majestic Ballroom E & D - 8 a.m.

This mock Town Hall Meeting provides a

glimpse into the facts behind the 21

Minimum Drinking Age Law.

Speakers: Glynn R. Birch, MADD National

President Deborah Duncan, KHOU-TV, Houston

& MADD National Board

Brian Demers, MADD National Board,

20-year-old MIT student Jeffrey Levy, MADD

National Board

Saturday, Sept. 8 MADD's Presidential Ragtime Ball -

6:00 p.m.

Majestic Ballroom E & D

Put on your dancing shoes for St. Louis

is the birthplace of Ragtime music -- the

first truly American musical genre. But

the music is just the backdrop to the

celebration and recognition of MADD's 2007

National President's Awards winners. Join

in honoring these remarkable people while

listening to the upbeat tunes that helped

set the stage for America's musical


Speaker: Glynn R. Birch, MADD National


SOURCE Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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