LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Memorial Day weekend means food, family, and especially a time to reflect on those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
But with these celebrations comes an increase in drunk driving injuries and deaths.
That’s why Yolanda Holmes, state manager for Mother’s Against Drunk Driving, said they want to remind people to have a plan.
“You’re watching your child change from night and day and knowing that something is going on and something is wrong, when he was doing exactly what he was supposed to do,” she said.
Holmes is no stranger to the impact of what “just one more drink” can do.
“He wasn’t able to participate in the state track meet, play AAU, had to end up going to summer school, so it affected him a lot,” she said.
Back in 2014 her son was hit by a three-time drunk driver offender when he was only 16-years-old.
Even though he survived, Holmes said the scars still linger.
“It just really impacted him emotionally, socially as to where it just pretty much altered his whole entire personality,” she said.
Now as the MADD state director, Holmes dedicates her life to end drunk driving and supporting families like hers.
“Put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if someone took your loved one due to a senseless, preventable crash?” she said.
This reminder comes over a three-day holiday weekend where, according to Holmes, 37% of traffic deaths are alcohol-related.
“We just most definitely want people to be safe, have a non-drinking driver, don’t drive drunk, don’t drive impaired,” she said.
While stay-at-home orders have meant fewer tragedies on the road, Holmes worries with the easing of restrictions this trend will change.
“Who knows, exactly, what’s going to happen with this pandemic going on and we see businesses and the economy begin to open up,” she said.
Which is why, Holmes said, their message remains the same: think about others, have a plan, and don’t drive impaired.
“That one person when they wake up the next morning, that loved one is gone. Then, you can’t bring that loved one back,” she said.
MADD is still providing virtual supportive services to victims of drunk and drugged driving.
Their helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 877-MADD-HELP.