Candace Lightner: From MADD to Glad For Lives Saved

September 18, 2016
What Can We Do About Florida’s Drugged Driving Problem?
September 18, 2016

Candace Lightner: From MADD to Glad For Lives Saved

by Terry Duschinski

We will never know who among us is counted in the half-million or more alive today because Candace Lightner turned a personal tragedy into a resounding triumph.

Candace Lightner hasn’t compiled the data herself, but officials who study highway safety tell her more than a half-million lives – 600,000 in fact – have been preserved since the effort she spearheaded to curtail drunk driving. It’s the kind of accomplishment for which the Smithsonian Institute requests your memorabilia but more importantly it makes a life that lasted only 13 years a triumph over tragedy.

Cari Lightner, one of Candace’s twin 13-year-old daughters, was walking to a church carnival on a bike path adjacent to the roadway near her home in Fair Oaks, California, in May 1980 when struck by a drunk driver who sped from the scene. So violently impacted was Cari’s body, thrown 125 feet, that her organs were not suitable for donation.

The driver, apprehended four days later, was a repeat offender out on bail from a hit-and-run DUI two days before killing Cari – his fifth offense in four years (but, amazingly, not even his last). When a police investigator confided to Ms. Lightner that the man would likely receive little or no incarceration, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (later changed to Driving) ignited.

Read the rest of the article on the American Daily Herald site >>


  1. Ella and Julia says:

    Dear We Save Lives,
    Hello, our names are Ella Boodin and Julia Littlefield, and we are seventh grader from Burleigh Manor Middle School in Ellicott City, Maryland. This year, we are participating in National History Day (NHD), which is a nationwide history project with the theme, “Taking a Stand in History” and we have selected Candy Lightner as our topic. Candy Lightner’s work with We Save Lives is the backbone of all drunk driving progress. While we were making our project we stumbled upon a predicament. We were wondering if you had the exact date We Save Lives was founded.

    Thank You For Your Time,
    Ella and Julia

  2. […] is founder of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, but is now focusing her energy on the organization We Save Lives: Highway Safety Advocates and last month supported Lifesavers National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities, which […]

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