EAST LANSING, Mich. – In an effort to promote safety while driving, the Michigan State University Department of Police and Public Safety (DPPS) and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) are teaming up to inform the community about how to stay safe when behind the wheel.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration11,654 people died in alcohol-impaired driving traffic deaths in 2020, which is a 14 percent increase from 2019.
“We really stress safe choices,” said Stephanie Hurst, a victim services manager for MADD. “If you’re going out, know who your designated driver is going to be, have your Uber or Lyft available, and know extra people that you can contact.”
MADD was founded in Michigan in 1983. The organization works with law enforcement agencies, such as DPPS, by collaborating with officers who oversee drunk driving cases and serving as a resource for affected families.
“Basically, what we do is we help guide victims and survivors through the court and grief process. Pretty much for anything that they might need, they can contact us, and we’ll work with them. “
Capt. Dan Munford with DPPS ‘ Community Engagement Unit has collaborated with MADD in the past while serving on the Ingham Regional Crash Investigation Team. The team represents multiple law enforcement agencies in Ingham County, consisting of more than 20 crash investigators.
“For me as a crash investigator going to court, I’ve got to focus on the elements of the case where support services are important,” said Munford. “Having MADD help families is huge because they can let them know personally the steps and the services they offer.”
Munford says the issue of drunk driving has not only affected his professional life, but also his personal one.
“You can probably speak to almost any family and they’ve had something like this happen to them,” said Munford. “I lost a cousin that was a senior in medical school at MSU in a drunk driving accident. Had I known at the time the resources that would’ve been available to my family, that would have been great. “
Maria Valayil, DPPS ‘newly hired police social worker, believes a further partnership with MADD will only benefit the East Lansing community.
“We’ll be able to coordinate with them to provide wraparound services to families, if needed,” said Valayil. “We have the same beliefs; we have the same philosophies. We’re definitely working toward the same goal. “
Valayil is part of DPPS ‘ Community Support Divisionwhich works to provide trauma-informed, inclusive and accessible service to MSU students, staff, faculty and visitors by leading with support and resources.
MADD has more than 600 state organizations, chapters and community action teams across the United States. Hurst encourages anyone with questions, comments, or concerns to reach out to her at [email protected].
Dana Whyte, Spokesperson, MSU Police and Public Safety
517-282-3711 | [email protected]
Stephanie Hurst, Victim Services Manager, Mothers Against Drunk Driving
616-225-3349 | [email protected]