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Day of Remembrance for Victims of Drunken Driving

Today is the Mothers Against Drunk Driving National Day of Remembrance. Credit: ldless/iStock
Today is the Mothers Against Drunk Driving National Day of Remembrance. Credit: ldless/iStock
December 3, 2015

LOS ANGELES - Today is the first-ever national day of remembrance for people who have died in alcohol-related car crashes, the survivors, and their families.

It's organized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, also known as MADD, as part of its 35th birthday celebration.

There will be events in dozens of cities across the nation today including Los Angeles, San Diego and Visalia. Patricia Rillera, regional executive director for with MADD in L.A. and Ventura counties, says December is the deadliest month for drunken-driving crashes and families often suffer the most during the holidays, looking at that empty seat at the table.

"For victims and survivors of drunk and drugged driving, it's one of the hardest times of the year," says Rillera. "So this is a chance for our community to come together to offer support and comfort to those who need it during the holidays and beyond."

MADD says in 2013, 867 people were killed in drunken-driving crashes in California, which is 29 percent of all fatalities. There were more than 10,000 killed nationally.

That's why, Rillera says, MADD is fighting to make ignition interlock devices mandatory for all first-time Driving Under the Influence offenders across the country.

"That individual, when they blow into that device, if they are at a .08 blood-alcohol content level or above, that vehicle is not going to operate," says Rillera.

Los Angeles and Sacramento counties began requiring ignition interlock devices about a year ago, so the data on whether they cut down on crashes will become available next year.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA