In the process of presenting a suggestion or idea to the person who has the power to implement it, the procedure of presentation influences the decision maker’s acceptance or rejection of the idea. When proper channels and protocol are followed, which comprehensively cover all the desired areas or people, it will be very easy to push through the idea. An idea can be rejected, not because it does not provide a solution to the problem, but because it was presented to the decision makers in a wrong way.
The issue of concern in this case study regards mothers who had a common interest against accidents caused by drunk drivers. Cari Lightner was killed by a drunk driver just before she celebrated her fourteenth birthday with friends and families. The drunk driver was a repeat offender whose blood alcohol indicated twice the level of alcohol as required by the law (Senator Bob Graham, 2009).
On September 5, 1980, Cari’s mother along with other women formed a group called Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD). The gender-designated group was formed purposely to primarily target offences, which were mostly perpetrated by male police officers, prosecutors, and judges who are often trivialized. Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) aims was to persuade lawmakers that intoxicated driving was a serious matter which needed quick address, since the consequences of this accidents was causing a lot of devastation to the affected families(Senator Bob Graham, 2009).
Generally, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) was formed to address the issues of accidents caused by drunk drivers. Intoxicated drivers had caused many accidents in America leading to many deaths of innocent people; Cari Lightner being one of these victims. The women who formed Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) identified this problem and took a step to mobilize citizens and people in authority so that the problem could be addressed adequately, and consequently reduce or totally eliminate deaths caused by drunken driving (Senator Bob Graham, 2009).
Nature of the barriers
Mothers against Drunk Drivers (MADD) group encountered many barriers in fighting drunk driving. One of the barriers was timely implementation of the policy they presented to governor of California Jerry Brown. (Senator Bob Graham, 2009).It took about two years for the policy makers to change the laws about drunk driving. That shows that in the span of two years more people continued to die due to accidents caused by drunk driving, and nothing could be done about it
Protection of their political careers by the policy makers was one of the barriers to the MADD goals. The Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) lobby group could not persuade the all of American states to adopt the rules immediately. It could be suicidal to a policy maker to adopt and pursue the implementation of a policy, which could ruin his/her political career. One has to make a random assessment to determine the consequences that will a raise and affect the persons’ political career, by perusing the adoption and implementation of a certain policy. Political rivals can use the policy as a way of founding a way to criticize a policy maker, and therefore become a simple way of fixing the latter. Some lawmakers argue that drunken-driving remedies for the first time offenders should not be imposed, and they should not face criminal liability upon the first conviction.
Drinking of alcohol is a have been present in the societies throughout history, thus making alcohol drinking a culture. Alcohol is used as a powerful symbolic function from the historical and contemporary evidence. Drinking is a cultural aspect from the past, since it there have always been designated places for drinking and plays a role in transition and festive rituals. It is an essential element of festivity. Because of its cultural background nature, it becomes a problem to change regulations attached to it. MADD has come into question since Candy Lightner founded. Critics think that MADD’s policies have become over bearing, and that it has become a body of non-elective government officials by changing the rules of drinking culture.
MADD’s is allocated an annual budget of about $45 million, in which $. 12 million goes to benefits, pension and salaries. The rest of the money is used by MADD to promote programs, some of which are ineffective. Victim Impact Panels (VIP) was initiated so that the convicted of accidents from drunk driving can appear in the panel and hear the victims stories. Research showed that Victim Impact Panels (VIP) was not effective since most of female offenders repeated the same mistake compared to male offenders. Despite this, MADD continued to finance the program.
How to overcome the barriers
In order to overcome the barriers encountered by MADD, the organization should define their relationships with the concerned parties and stakeholders. Economic assessment and the social aspect that rise from alcohol is the key area of consideration in order to overcome barriers in developing a strategy for policy changes. The stakeholders include the drivers, government and the people in the beverage industries, that is, alcohol manufacturers (Barbour & Gerald, 2010). The strategies should include educating the decision makers, who are the stakeholders, about the short-term and long-term goals of the MADD. This mutual relationship will ensure that there is no criticism in the process of formulation and implementing policies. In this way, MADD should clearly and explain how it spends the finds allocated to them, despite of reduction in the accidents level caused by drunk driving.
In the modern world, alcohol and beverages has become an issue of social interest among users (Barbour & Gerald, 2010). Before implementing any policy that will affect the products in the alcohol industry, MADD should start from the ground to discuss the issue of tax on alcohol with the stakeholders. Proper chain of command should be followed in order to cover all the areas that will be affected by the changes, by doing this; both the parties in the alcohol manufacturing industries, MADD and the government, will have reached a universal ground. Taxes on alcohol have economic implications on the producers and consumers.
Internal politics and dynamics play a critical role when determining what kind of policies one wants to present for legislation (Delaney, Rogers & Wheeler, 2000). Before presenting opinions and recommendations to the policy maker, MADD should consider the effect of the latter to the political career of the policymaker. This must ensure that the decision maker cannot be fixed by his/her political rivals.
MADD should ensure that the programs they finance are meeting its goals. Victim Impact Panels (VIP) was not effective, but MADD continued to fund the same program. The organization should look for alternatives like putting these funds on a public campaign to sensitize the people about drunk driving and effects.
Though Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) had the right idea and solutions that addressed the problem of accidents caused by drunk driving, their policies took quite some time to be implemented. Furthermore, despite their success in reducing the number of accidents caused by drunk driving, it still received some criticism because of some shortcomings in the methods used to pass the information to the decision makers.
H. Delaney, E. Rogers, & Wheeler D. R., (2000). Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions (CASAA), University of New Mexico.
Senator Bob Graham, (2009). America the owner’s manual. Bob Graham Center for Public Service, University of Florida.
Barbour Gerald, (2010). Keeping the Republic: Power and Citizenship In American Politics. CQ Press.