MADD speaks out about possible cut in assistance grants for crime victims

Posted at 10:42 AM, Dec 18, 2020

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - 10,265 deaths. 28 a day. One every 51 minutes.

That's how many people are killed by drunk drivers in our nation, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD.

In the Commonwealth alone, 303 lives were taken by drunk drivers in 2018.

"These are senseless crimes and these crashes don't have to happen," said Meghan Carter, director of field operations for MADD.

MADD works to advocate for stronger laws and educate about underage drinking.

"Victim services, for MADD, is at the heart and soul of everything we do," Carter said said.

MADD and other victim-based organizations rely on Victims of Crime Assistance, or VOCA, grants to help survivors or those injured in drunk driving crashes.

"The funding for VOCA has been cut over the past several years," Carter said.

Now the funding is in real jeopardy. Congress is set to vote on an omnibus appropriations bill that could further cut VOCA assistance grants by 64 percent for 2021.

"This would be devastating, to say the least, for MADD and other organizations providing direct services to crime victims," Carter said.

Carter says the grants help with court advocates, emotional support, education programs and staffing.

"MADD helps survivors survive, and everything we do is to save lives because it is a crime that is 100 percent preventable, 100 percent of the time," Carter said.

As the holidays approach, Carter asks drivers to please plan ahead if you plan to consume alcohol this season.

"Please always remember to have a plan, whether it's a non-drinking driver or Uber or other form of transportation. Please make that part of your plan prior to going out that evening."