MADD License Plate Sales Decline; Group Could Lose Funding

Posted at 7:16 PM, Jun 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-23 20:45:56-04

The number of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers license plates on vehicles has declined, putting the production of those plates at risk.

Every day, at the Mother's Against Drunk Driving offices are the faces of someone's loved one, friend or neighbor - they're lives taken too soon due to drunk driving.

MADD state program director Kate Ritchie said just last year hundreds of innocent lives were lost. "375 crashes that are 100 percent preventable, so this has to stop," she said.

Many of them were taken in accidents like the one in Joelton on June 6, 2015.  A drunk driver claimed the life of a young mother and left her 10-month-old daughter paralyzed from the neck down.

That's why those small metal MADD specialty license plates are so very important, yet MADD is in jeopardy of losing it.

"We've had our MADD license plates for 20 years, and in order to maintain them we have to keep 500 in circulation," said Ritchie. "We need 74 more by June 30.

If they don't get enough people to renew their plates with theirs, MADD could lose the plates and their funding.  

"So we lose that 15-thousand worth of funding, and we also have to wait three years before we could reapply with legislation," she said.  "Then we have to have one thousand pre-sold in order to get the license plates back."

The plates run $35 and of that $30.75 stays right here in Tennessee to help fund free victim services like emotional and criminal justice support. 

Yet, without the support of Tenesseans, Ritchie said the program and those who need it most will likely suffer. "A lot of people have said they don't know how they would've been able to come to the other side without that support."

A plate can be purchased online. Drivers don't have to wait for a renewal period to get the new plate, but Ritchie said those sales take too long and won't help them make their June 30 deadline.