Pledge To Drive Sober This Holiday Season

By Toni Muranaka, Hawaii Executive Director, Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Life-changing events happen to all of us. Sometimes that event, no matter how tragic, can help others.


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Rich Turbin, former MADD Hawaii board member, and Theresa Paulette, leadership chairwoman, in 1987 PHOTO FROM MADD HAWAII

That was the case for Theresa, whose 15-year-old son was killed by a six-time repeat drunk driving offender in 1992. Theresa’s entire life was thrown upside-down, and her heartbreak became the driving force behind her commitment to make sure others never had to go through what she experienced. She contacted Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the nation’s largest nonprofit organization working to protect families from drunk driving tragedies, as well as supporting victims of this violent and 100 percent preventable crime. Theresa spoke with Carol McNamee, the founder of MADD Hawaii, and says it was McNamee’s warmth and understanding that set the wheels in motion for her to volunteer.

When MADD was founded in 1984, an average of 100 lives were lost in drunk driving crashes and hundreds were seriously injured in Hawaii each year. In the last three decades, MADD Hawaii has helped change attitudes about drinking and driving, has partnered in reducing alcohol-related highway fatalities in Hawaii by more than 50 percent and has helped reduce under-age drinking. Even with these strides, an average of 50 lives are still lost every year in impaired-driving crashes statewide.

Additionally, Emergency Medical Services responds to more than 500 impaired-driving incidents annually. These numbers are unacceptable. We all need to help our island communities bring an end to drunk driving and make a commitment to driving sober.

MADD Hawaii wants to remind motorists about the Tie One On For Safety Campaign, which asks the community to tie a red ribbon onto their vehicle and pledge to drive sober or designate a driver, especially during the holidays. You can find these free ribbons at Macy’s Ala Moana, NAPA Hawaii, Tesoro Hawaii, 7-Eleven, Caesars Cleaners and Cutter Chevrolet.

MADD also provides free support to drunk-driving victims and survivors, serving one person every 10 minutes across our country. MADD is here to help crash victims like Theresa navigate their way. For more information, call MADD Hawaii at 532-6232 or visit our website at

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