Your Turn: April is time to focus on crime victims' rights, alcohol awareness


The median household income was $17,710, you could purchase a first-class stamp for 15 cents, and about 28,000 people died in alcohol-related car accidents. The year was 1980. That was also the year one mom started a nationwide campaign to end drunken driving that would become Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). 

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The Oklahoman 

Your Turn: April is time to focus on crime victims' rights, alcohol awareness

April 24, 2021 


One year later, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week was established to enhance sensitivity and awareness of the rights of victims, and the commemoration has grown to recognize advocates and those who provide life-saving and supportive services to victims.

In the 41 years since MADD was founded and the national movement to elevate the conversation on victims’ rights began, drunken driving deaths have been reduced by half, and today, hundreds of thousands of advocates and supporters work toward MADD’s focus on one number — zero. Zero deaths, injuries, or families impacted by drunken and drugged driving. More than 400,000 lives have been saved. But there is so much work left to get to zero. In tandem with the mission of MADD, organizations like Marsy’s Law for Oklahoma were created and coexist to ensure protections for those who are victimized and impacted by crime despite these best efforts.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. It’s a time to remember to put safety first. Drunken driving is 100% preventable, and it’s also illegal. The deaths and injuries caused by drunken driving are violent and irreversible. The nearly 1 million victims MADD has served can attest to the lifelong impact of a drunken or drugged driving crash.

Thanks to Oklahomans who passed Marsy’s Law in November 2018, victims of crime have constitutional rights in the criminal justice system. MADD supports Marsy’s Law in every state it’s available, because victims of all crimes, including drunken and drugged driving, deserve to be treated with dignity and protected from revictimization.

This month, from April 18 to 24, is also National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. It’s important for Oklahomans to know what rights are available to them should the unthinkable happen. Often, people only associate Marsy’s Law with crimes such as murder, rape, and assault. Marsy’s Law for Oklahoma, however, was created for victims of any crime, including drunken driving.

The decision to drive while impaired by alcohol or other drugs is no accident — it is a choice. And it is a choice that remains the leading killer on America’s roads, claiming the lives of 10,000 people and injuring 300,000 every year.

Drunken or drugged driving can impact anyone at any time — drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. In fact, two out of three people will be impacted by a drunken or drugged driving crash in their lifetime. That is why it is so important to plan ahead for a designated driver, or Uber or Lyft, or public transportation. There is never any excuse to drive impaired.

MADD and Marsy’s Law are partners to ensure the rights of all crime victims are protected. MADD provides supportive services to victims of drunken and drugged driving every three minutes of every day. As part of the Oklahoma Constitution, Marsy’s Law expresses enumerated rights for all victims of crime and provides resources for advocates and law enforcement. We encourage you to learn more at

Kim Moyer is state director of Marsy’s Law for Oklahoma. Loretta Denman is MADD state programs manager.