Candace Lynne “Candy” Lightner (born May 30, 1946) is the American organizer and founding president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). On May 3, 1980, Lightner’s 13-year-old daughter, Cari, was killed by a hit-and-run drunk driver at Sunset and New York Avenues in Fair Oaks, California. The sentence given to the repeat offender of driving while intoxicated (DWI) outraged Lightner who then organized Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. The name was later changed to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The object of her organization was to raise public awareness of the serious nature of drunk driving and to promote tough legislation against the crime. Lightner appeared on major television shows, spoke before the US Congress, addressed professional and business groups, and worked for many years to change public attitudes, modify judicial behavior, and promote tough new legislation.
She left MADD in 1985. It was reported in 2002 that she had stated that MADD had “…become far more neo-prohibitionist than I had ever wanted or envisioned… I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving”. In 2010, she was quoted saying of MADD: “I think they’re moving in the right direction”, and supporting ignition interlock devices for drunk driving convicts.
Candy Lightner is a recipient of the President’s Volunteer Action Award, an honorary doctorate in humanities and public service, and was the subject of a made-for-television movie, “Mothers Against Drunk Drivers: the Candy Lightner story.” She is the co-author (with Nancy Hathaway) of Giving Sorrow Words. For her work, Lightner was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the National Commission on Drunk Driving.
Candy Lightner became the President of We Save Lives, which campaigns against drunk, distracted and drugged driving.