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Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Announces New National President Who Grew Up in South Florida



Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is proud to announce its new, National President, Tess Rowland, effective Feb. 6, 2023.


On May 4th, 2021, Rowland was driving to her job as a television news reporter in Panama City Beach, FL when a suspected drunk driver with drugs in the car hit her head-on, causing severe, life-threatening injuries. First responders on scene said it was a miracle that she survived, and she is continuing to recover from physical and mental trauma caused by this crash.


"MADD has helped me get my life back," Rowland said. "And while these injuries will be with me for the rest of my life, I'm driven to use my platform as the National President to ensure that no one else has to endure what me and my family went through."


Rowland first became involved in MADD as a volunteer following the crash and recovery. She's previously served as the Walk Like MADD 5K Northwest Florida Event Chair, and as the 2022 Keynote Speaker for the annual MADD Florida Law Enforcement Recognition event where she received accolades from more than 100 law enforcement professionals.


Now, as president, Rowland will serve as a national spokesperson and chief champion for MADD, the nation's largest nonprofit working to end drunk and drugged driving and support the victims of these violent and preventable crimes.


"Despite greater awareness, there is renewed urgency surrounding this issue as new data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveal that impaired driving is reaching its highest levels in over a decade," said Rowland.


Moving forward, Rowland is on a mission to change the misperception that MADD is an organization exclusively for parents. For decades, MADD has been invested in educating and saving the lives of young people. Now, through a new initiative, Coalition 45, Rowland is taking MADD's youth engagement to the next level. Coalition 45 serves to spark urgency around the fact that 100% preventable deaths related to drunk and impaired driving occur in the U.S. every 45 minutes.


Over the next year, Rowland will be traveling the country to meet with youth-focused nonprofit organizations and young activists to talk about how they can work together to solve these issues. Rowland will be recruiting 45 representatives from different regions and cities across the country to develop new resources created by young people, for young people.


"As a 24-year-old, Tess has a unique opportunity to widen the reach of MADD and bring together young people to help solve an issue that will save lives," said MADD CEO Stacey D. Stewart. "As drunk driving deaths continue to rise around the country, we must take action to broaden our community and bring together a diverse network of advocates to help end drunk and drugged driving."


Rowland follows Alex Otte, who served as MADD National President in 2021 and 2022. Otte came to MADD after she was severely injured by an intoxicated boat operator when she was 13 years old. During Otte's time as MADD National President, she championed the HALT Act in 2021 and MADD's inaugural Boating Under the Influence (BUI) campaign in 2022.


By ML Staff. Photo by MADD


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