MADD Gets Mad Over Drunk Driving in GTA IV ...Calls for ESRB to Re-rate as Adults Only

April 30, 2008 -
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has issued a statement critical of the opportunites for virtual drunk driving in GTA IV:
Each year nearly 13,500 people die in drunk driving crashes and another half a million are injured in alcohol-related traffic crashes. This is why MADD is extremely disappointed by the decision of the manufacturers of the game Grand Theft Auto IV to include a game module where players have to drive drunk.

Drunk driving is not a game and it is not a joke. Drunk driving is a choice, a violent crime and it is also 100 percent preventable. MADD is calling on the Entertainment Software Ratings Board to reclassify Grand Theft Auto IV as an Adults Only game, a step up from the current rating of Mature and for the manufacturer to consider a stop in distribution – if not out of responsibility to society then out of respect for the millions of victims/survivors of drunk driving.


The fact is, if GTA IV let you drink and then drive off without any consequences, MADD wouldn't have batted an eyelid. It's the fact that Rockstar are raising awareness to the negative effects of drink-driving in the game by making the game harder to play and more dangerous to your character's well-being that has drawn MADD's ire. Instead of praising it for being a feature that highlights the dangers of drink-driving, this is how those menopausal hags with sandy vaginas see it:

"GTA IV has a minigame where the child playing the game scores points for running over people while under the influence of alcohol."

Please. Spare me. MADD are a bunch of terrible people.

Vinzent: Sorry, but MADD has a horrible agenda. Yes, being anti-drink-driving is a worthy cause, but their methods are atrocious, plus they just flat out tell lies to promote their unfounded agendas such as keeping the drinking age at the ridiculously high 21, all under the guise of preventing drink-driving. They are disgusting and ought to be disbanded.

I fully support what MADD are doing, don't get me wrong, the problem in the UK is far worse than in the US as far as sentencing is concerned and it is something I am actively involved with trying to change, but personally, I'm more concerned with the idea that killing a child with your car in real life can sometimes result in less than 3 months in jail for a drink-driver. That is a real, actual and existing concern.

I'm not the least bit concerned about the Drink-Driving in GTA, it's a punishment, it's harder to drive when you are drunk, and I'd rather young people found that out from a computer game than real life.

I totally saw this coming. It was only a matter of time before someone started bitching about the drunk driving stuff.

Honestly, you'd think that some people who play this game would think "Damn, I can't stop running into crap while I'm drunk in-game. I'd hate to imagine what would happen if I drank and drove in real life? I guess this gives me more incentive not to do so."

I tried to post this on their blog but I don´t have my password at hand (I suck on remembering things like that):

"I don´t want to say it, but, you are wasting your time complaining for a videogame. One single videogame is not gonna be the cause of more car accidents or any tragedy you want to blame it.

And even if you can stop Grand Theft Auto of being sold, that doesn´t gonna avoid more car accidents.

Even when you are asking for respect of the victims, your claims are still wrong because is like to ask TV or movies or books to not use "tragedy-induced alcohol" or whatever writers can coming up to tell a story.

Why that fear for videogames?

Play a videogame don´t turn people in murderers like the media want to make you to believe, because is simply not logical.

You really want to believe your own children are dangerous if they play games? You don´t trust in your own sons and daughters?

You don´t trust in yourselfs as parents?

You are only spreading fear in something that is not worth it, not even the time or the mention."

Guys, after doing some shots of Vodka (first drink in 9 months!) and then trying to drive somewhere I can honestly say drink driving doesn't pay.

I lost my nice red banshee :(

And then the police shot me...

Kids, if you drink and drive; the Police will shoot you in the face.

This is a retarded statement MADD made...

If they REALLY are about helping their cause and keeping people from drinking and driving then they should reitterate that driving drunk is a bad idea just as GTA IV shows. Instead of this venomous rant they do, they could have put together a VERY good, positive message to people about drunk driving.

HELL! Why don't they just get R* to add some MADD banners in game?

Oh wait... No... Nevermind...

THAT would be effective. Better not.

Continue with plan A: Putting out meaningless bulletins.


I think this all just a publicity for MADD to get attention, and not to incite any particular rage among gamers. (Despite my attitude on my previous entry)

Afterall, its not like they get a lot of media attention anyway.

Sure, they have a commercial or two, but not often enough to make the public aware of DUI consequences. So what better way to get attention than to piss people off, while understanding their plight.

This might not apply to most in MADD, but still the amount of assaults on GTAIV are to big to be coincedenses.

Then again, I'm a conspiracy theorist...

!We never landed on the moon, Elvis and Tupac are ALIVE, and Jack Thompson has sold his soul to Satan!! (OK, that last ones' true)

Is there a drunk driving mission? It sounds like MADD is saying there is one…

This is not surprising in the least. For all of you pointing out how stupid it is for MADD to be upset about the portrayal of drunk driving in the game, you're right, it is, and they understand that. The key to this story is that MADD has long since ceased to be merely a anti-drunk driving lobby, and has become a neo-prohibitionist lobby. In fact, the group's original founder, Candy Lightner, has since criticized the group, saying that they've transformed into an anti-alcohol lobby rather than keeping their focus on drunk drivers.

So of course MADD is upset at GTAIV. They're upset because of the light in which drinking alcohol is presented. The drunk driving matter is an angle that they can try to use in the press, but I have no doubt that MADD's real beef isn't with the possibility for drunk driving, but the non-negative light in which the consumption of alcohol is presented.

Cyberskull: I haven't gotten that far yet but according to other people you are not forced to drink drive.

Also, remember the mission in Vice City where you drove under the influence of Boomshine? That mission was hard as hell.

If thats the case, then every "R" rated movie featuring drunk driving should be rated "NC-17". It's just a bloody game people need to relax.

I wonder if MADD propositions the MPAA to rerate movies that show drunk driving (Say the Big Lebowski) as NC-17?

I'm hoping that there are enough level headed responses to this press release for them to realize that, as they have demonstrated, they don't have an accurate understanding of how drunk driving is handled in the game.

As people have said, there is the explicitly stated choice when the user first goes drinking for Nico to hail a cab. And further, the police in game are very diligent in spotting potentially drunk drivers.

Man, I really should be saving money, but all of this obnoxious, bandwagon publicity is making me want to get a copy of the game now.

I think such a feature in a game is great. When ever I hear drugs are bad, I think of the stage "Touch fuzzy get dizzy', in the game "Yoshi's island". I also think of "Deux ex" with the zinc drug and alcohol, Boiling point's alcohol, and "S.T.A.L.K.E.R" and the AMK mod. I died from downing 8 bottles of vodka, just to get rid of it from my inventory. Those games convinced me that drinking and doing drugs is not a good Idea and not very healthy.

I KNEW this was going to happen I fucking knew it.

Although I haven't gotten to the portion of the game where you HAVE to drive drunk (if it exists), but either way if you are drunk in GTA IV it makes it harder to drive so wouldn't that support the notion that driving drunk is a bad idea?

Oh and retailers do not need to pull the game out of respect for drunk driving victims that's just stupid. (Next you're going to tell me that Blockbuster should no longer stock Jaws out of respect for shark attack victims).

@ Waffles

I've been meaning to find a prostitute, do some business, and then beat her up and get my cash back ever since the news reports started, but I've been to busy going to the cabaret thingy.

The cowboy must die.

"Drunk driving is a choice, a violent crime "

Violent crime my left foot, the only reason it's a crime is because you put yourself at a high risk of endangering other people. Although if I get drunk and drive my car into a tree how is that a violent crime?

Lemme see, I did drunk driving in the game, the game told me I could hail a cab any time Niko is too shitfaced to drive, but I decided to drive anyway. And while driving the cops spotted me and came after me.

Yeah that's just a terrible message.

Yay I will now be able to add drunk driver to the long list of crimes I am trained to do.

Role playing isn't dangerous... Not role playing is, it's called being a psychopath (not having empathy for other human beings) and is a disease. Even if the entertainment you enjoy isn't interactive if you have felt emotion for one of the character isn't that an effect the movie, book had on you (it probably even shows activity on brain scans).

GTA isn't the most violent game ever or the worst but games that are really violent just for the sake of it don't sell well and are a niche market. I just tried Army of Two demo and the violence in this game and the character's reaction to it made me not like the game. I was like "I can't care for those two guys they are stupid to react like that it's humans they are killing". I ended up wanting to die instead of killing my foes.

My last point. Role playing is a proven learning tool. By watching your kid play games you will probably be able to learn his reaction to problems in life and teach him how to react according to the values you want to teach him (I suggest other games than GTA to start with).

GTA simulates crime and if you play it you will learn one thing. Crime has consequences and they are often death. If you don't want to die don't be violent like the caracters in the game.

"hod do I failed at blaming video games?"
*inserts spider man image*

wow....moralists are lemmings after all....

In all honesty the game is pretty good at showing the dangers of drunk driving, after flipping over my camaro, I made sure to take a Taxi when stumbling out of the bar.

The game should be applauded for giving a simulation that shows how bad it is to drive drunk.

With that said overall the game lives up to its M rating, and its up to the parents to monitor what their kids are watching and playing. This facist BS really irratates me.

As a parent of 3, I am my parents father, and they will not play the game or watch me play it.

As a victim of a drunk driver (car totaled, thankfully no injuries) I hope that this game DOES NOT get pulled because MADD is upset. I'm honestly offended at MADD right now for playing the "think of the victims" card. I haven't reached the point where you can drive drunk in the game, but I do hope it makes it harder to drive a car.

This is also absurb to be focusing on this one element of GTA. I guess MADD won't have a problem with me running over virtual pedestrians while my virtual avatar is sober.

If you're old enough to drink legally, intelligent enough to have passed your driving test, and are a functional enough member of society to afford a car and its upkeep, then you'd think you would know that drink driving is a Bad Thing. yet people still do it. Why?

Oh yeah, a game released in early 2008 told them it was cool.

why should it be made AO?
its not for kids anyways...
i seriously think they should just merge AO and MA, or boost MA to being 18+ and AO for XX rated crap like it sounds to be anyways.

but this bullox about getting it boosted is just a shot at getting it banned (like manhunt 2... i still don't see what was so big about it, the gfx are so low key its not that gruesome at all, i've seen PG-13 movies with worse scenes honestly.

I remember reading about what pieces of shit m.a.d.d. are. I remember reading about how they lie about how they spend funds. I remember about how almost none of the donated money goes towards the cause, and is instead used to keep the organization with full pockets.

From my local paper:

MADD had long claimed that about 84 cents of every dollar raised went to support its programs instead of 19 cents. The difference is because the organization was claiming its fundraising activities were also educating the public about drunk driving and, therefore, were not fundraising costs

Disgusting fucks. They have no right to preach like this.

Why attack now? There was driving while intoxicated (thought not exactly on alcohol) in GTA Vice City (part of a side mission). What happened with that? Everyone just seems to want their chance to take a potshot. Reminds me of the soap party in Full Metal Jacket...

Papa Midnight

I heard in the news earlier this year that some police department released a game where you can drunk drive AND allowed children to play it. the driving aspect sounds similar to GTA-IV drunk driving but in a first person view.

MADD takes it too seriously. *Way* too seriously! It's GTA, it is fun and games, it's fantasy, made up, silly, hilarious, and just *like life can be*, it's a joke.

How many of these groups that complain of one element or another in GTA$ have actually PLAYED THE GAME?

They see it has all sorts of elements: drugs, alochol, guns, driving, crime, etc, etc, know this game as I do. But really, they do not understand what they are talking about. They see these things and made wild comments on what it HAS to be about, not WHAT it is about.

For instance. Lets say, instead of GTA4, we are cheering that the book "War and Peace" just came out. They see "War" an assume everything from death to nazis concentration camps....without even reading the preface! Maybe these people from MADD should examine the content in the game, before using that lump two and a half feet above their @sses (yes I know, GP, no swear words. Technically, I didnt write one. Your mind made the connection on its own).

I'm sure MADD isnt the last, igorant idiots to come out about GTA4 to advance their own agenda. I'm sure we'll have a few more. An after that, we GAMERS, will STILL be playing GTA4 for fun, laughs, and a few comical moments.

bah, rubbish i say. its not as if the game glorifies drunk driving, or says "hey, drunk driving is fun, DO THIS KIDS". and in my opinion, anybody who dies from drunk driving (that is, if they are the ones driving drunk, not if they get hit by somebody drunk driving) deserved to die. stupidity weeding itself out at its finest, id say.

Being drunk in this game is your responsibility. Just dont drink then you wont get drunk. They should not make this AO rated. They are just upset.

yes, they force you to drink in the game.

My assumption is no one at MADD has played GTA IV. I encountered the opportunity to drive drunk once in the game, and I thought they were actually making a statement about how difficult it was, because in the game it is virtual impossible to drive while drunk. The car bucks and weaves and you can barely control it at all (and if you start driving the cops will immediately go after you). In fact, you can barely walk without falling down, much less drive, and the game actually pops up a little window suggesting you take a cab.

It's a pretty strong anti-drunk driving statement, but of course throwing brick bats at GTA is a popular activity so it's not surprising everyone wants to get in the news by taking a dig of their own.

I support the message against drunk driving 100%, but this is a freaking game, you can't get drunk by playing the game you probably can't play it in your car etc...

MADD should shut the hell up, because if they don't then angry gamers will start promoting drunk driving to see how MADD likes it when stupidity is promoted everywhere...

Hey maybe we should ban water because it promotes drinking? It looks very similar to when people drink alcohol and people even do it in their cars. Ban water!!! "If not out of responsibility to society then out of respect for the millions of victims/survivors of drunk driving."


MADD, get a fucking clue about fictional video game entertainment, and get back to your real life battles before you lose more respect than you already have.


Although I understand their feelings about real life drink driving.. every single person who gets behind the wheel of the car, under ANY influence of alcohol at all, should be jailed, there is no reason for it, it is irresponsible and stupid.. its a video game, its not real.

Hey guys, look at that MADD logo. Notice the "period" after MADD above "education"? That is actually a star and somewhere on their site they claim they are in fact completely non-educational cause of the bullshit their spew. It's true.

Is it just my imagination or does every group that begins with the words "Mothers Against" turn out to be a bunch of uninformed opinionated wankers who base their opinions on the opinions of other people who have clearly no contact with the issue?

Besides, as has been said before, there's strong encouragement to call a taxi when you're shitfaced and there's even greater encouragement to walk because its so damned funny.

I'm right behind you on that water ban. You know I heard that hitler, stalin, ghengis khan and the creature from the black lagoon all drank water!

I thought MADD was 'Mothers Against Dungeons & Dragons"? Two groups of insane people with the same acronym?

Oooooo ... I can haz turf war? THAT would be funny!!!

Were they just waiting for something to criticize? For Chirst's sake, complain about Family Guy for showing drunk driving as funny is your going to complain about GTA...

[...] As reported by Gamepolitics, MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) has expressed displeasure at how the game ‘glorifies’ drunk driving, and has called for the game to receive the AO (Adults Only) rating. More information can be found here. [...]

Just another group not getting their facts straight and shooting off at their mouths. They might want to look into joining MACS - Mothers Against Common Sense.

Okay, so I just decided to do a little drunk driving in GTA4. I can say if anything MADD should be using this as a tool to show teenaged drivers just how amazing bad of an idea drunk driving is. After slamming into a bunch of crap and eventually a cop car and getting arrested, yeah, its not a bright thing to do in the virtual or real world.

Not once did I say "This is a brilliant idea!"

If anything, GTA4 teaches people that drunk driving is dangerous. I managed to hit 20 people, destroy 3 cars, and accumulate 3 wanted stars in 5 minutes of drunkenness.

@ Jojo Stix

Believe me: I've played the game for a good 12 hours now and had the option of drunk driving a time or two, both as a result of going out drinking with Niko's cousin.

Here's something to consider: The game tells you immediately that it's probably a good idea to hail a cab and get yourself home that-a-way. It is. It will be the first action I take every time Niko drinks in the game, should it always be available.

You wanna know why? My very first STEP- not drive, I mean literally, Niko's first on-foot STEP- sent him crashing RIGHT to the ground. Driving went EVEN WORSE, with police coming after me on three separate occasions, WITH the camera swirling like a can of paint in a mixer, AND my controller taking my commands to go left or right as mere suggestions. I have no clue how in the blue blazes I made it back to Roman's pick-up point intact.

I PERSONALLY drive a $700 beater car I bought used and have put that much back into repairs for, with no means to get another car should this one crash. I think this game has proven quite well that nothing is to be gained from drunk driving except a smashed-up car and repeated threats on all nearby human life.

...'course, the fact that I can't stand the taste of most booze will only help me along the road...


If you get drunk in GTA4 and *walk* too fast, you fall over and lose a bit of health. If you're daft enough to drink drive after that (which, let's be honest, you'll do at least once ;) ) you will find several things impairing your ability to drive:

1. The screen tilts from side to side, at the same time zooming in and out slightly. It's very disorientating, to say the least. You will find your ability to judge speed is pretty much out the window.

2. The car "anti-steers", so even if you are driving straight (as in, leaving the left stick dead centre) you will be forced to take remedial action as the car swerves left and right.

All in all, it models real-world drunk driving quite well (and don't ask how I know).

[...] Source: Gamepolitics Permalink [...]

Does anyone remember the drunk driving scene in GTA: Vice City? Where Tommy is drunk after getting a whiff of Phil's moonshine there, and having some? And he drives Phil to the hospital cause he blew his damn arm off? [CMIIW, it's been a while since I played Vice City, but I believe this is how the scene goes.]

Or the "tea" that Auntie gives Tommy, and he's all doped up, killing people?

Don't these incidents already occur in real life? [Pending that you didn't live a sheltered life...] Why should MADD get mad over GTA: IV, when drunk driving has occurred WELL BEFORE video games? And why didn't they rag on GTA: Vice City? Or any other games that may reference drunk driving? [Sorry I can't recall any, I'm mainly a GTA/RPG kinda girl. Heh.]

Instead of worrying about video games, how about MADD worry about real life? Obviously, they're just jumping on the "Let's Bash Rockstar and Take-Two!" bandwagon. What a drag.
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