Adrienne Taylor, MADD

Leah Friel photo

“People call it a drunk-driving accident, but it’s not an accident,” says Adrienne Taylor, a volunteer with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Hawaii. “It’s a crash. Somebody made a choice, and this is what resulted.”

And the results are harrowing. According to 2010 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10,228 people died in drunk-driving crashes that year, meaning one death occurred every 52 minutes. Another 345,000 were injured in a drunk-driving crash. According to MADD, 2 million repeat drunk drivers are on the road at any given time.

Yet despite these numbers, Taylor feels that the issue of drunk driving often is not adequately addressed. “People don’t like to talk about it a lot,” says Taylor. “We don’t want to talk about the consequences so much, and we don’t want to police our friends … It’s a topic that people are afraid to broach.”

To help break down those barriers, while raising funds for its programs, MADD hosts its second annual Walk Like MADD event Saturday at Aloha Stadium and will include live entertainment and giveaways in addition to the 5K walk.

MADD was created in 1980 by a mother whose 13-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver. Today, it has hundreds of chapters across the country. MADD works to prevent drunk driving, eliminate underage drinking and help victims of crashes that occurred under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The organization also has been instrumental in passing legislation related to alcohol, traffic safety and victims’ rights. Locally, MADD was involved with the ignition interlock law that was passed in Hawaii last year. Funds raised at the walk will benefit MADD’s programs.

As a teenager growing up in a small town outside of Philadelphia, Taylor witnessed the consequences of driving under the influence. She says impaired driving was not uncommon, and a few people she knew, including a close childhood friend, died in alcohol-related crashes.

“I’m drawn to working with MADD because we should be able to do something about (driving under the influence),” says Taylor, who is a project manager at American Savings Bank. “It’s a behavioral thing, and we make certain choices. We can control what we do and how we talk about it.”

Aside from raising money for MADD, Taylor also hopes that the event will help open up dialogue about driving under the influence. “Talking about it isn’t a bad thing,” she says. “(The walk) is a good way to come together and to show our solidarity for the mission.”

Walk Like MADD takes place July 14 at Aloha Stadium. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., opening ceremony starts at 9:30, and the 5K walk is at 10. Pre-registration costs $20, cost is $25 on the day of the event. To register or for more information, visit