Victims of drunk drivers to get support from state

Gov. Bob Riley has awarded a grant to aid and support victims throughout Alabama who are suffering from the actions of alcohol-impaired drivers.

The $29,100 grant will help Alabama Mothers Against Drunk Driving provide services including court accompaniment and assistance in filing for victims' compensation. The Montgomery-based organization also helps those who have lost loved ones in crashes caused by drunken drivers.

"Victims of drunken drivers and their families often face a long road to recovery," Riley said. "I commend MADD for offering programs that guide victims through the recovery process and help families deal with tragic circumstances."

MADD guides and assists victims throughout the criminal justice process.  The organization also operates a 24-hour crisis hotline for victims,  offers individual and group counseling and helps victims secure other needed services.

MADD works to prevent underage drinking by informing people of the dangers of drinking and driving. Presentations are conducted at schools, churches and other community meeting places.  MADD also trains law enforcement officers, medical and emergency personnel, social workers and other professionals in appropriate and adequate care for victims.

In 2006, the organization helped 136 victims and provided 904 services.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs will administer the grant which Riley awarded from funds made available to Alabama through the U.S. Department of Justice.

Riley notified Glenda Richardson, MADD state chairwoman, of the grant's approval.

Matching funds of $7,275 will supplement the award.