MADD, Nationwide accelerate designated driving effort for the holidays

Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Nationwide have kicked off the annual Tie One On For Safety campaign with the release of survey results showing that 75% of people choose to use designated drivers to get home safely.

DALLAS: Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Nationwide have kicked off the annual Tie One On For Safety campaign with the release of survey results showing that 75% of people choose to use designated drivers to get home safely.

The initiative, which started in 1986, plays off the term "tie one on," which means to drink alcohol, but the organization uses it as a way to ask people to showcase a MADD red ribbon in their vehicles to remind others about the importance of using a designated driver.

For the online survey, 606 participants were asked two questions in November: "Why do you volunteer to be a designated driver?" and "Why did you choose to be driven home by a designated driver?"

According to the results, 75% of respondents said getting home safely was why they chose to be the designated driver, and 85% said that’s also why they were driven by a designated driver. Other reasons for being or using a designated driver included avoiding a DUI arrest or getting into an accident.

Further results revealed that about half of adults 21 and older said they were the designated driver sometime over the last year, and 39% opted to use one in the last 12 months.

"Those numbers are good, but we’d like those numbers to increase," said Bill Windsor, associate VP of consumer safety for Nationwide and chairman of the board at MADD. "People need to be more aggressive in ensuring that their friends and family don’t drive drunk."

Amy George, SVP of marketing and communications for MADD, said the organization’s crusade continues because "the country has come to accept a threshold of drunk driving."

"[People may] assume the problem has been solved because MADD has been so successful in reducing drunk driving deaths," she said. "We really are challenging the public to still see drunk driving as an urgent, relevant issue because it’s 100% preventable, 100% of the time."

New components have been added to the campaign to get people involved since less cars today have antennas to tie on ribbons, said George.

On social media from December 1-15, MADD is using the hashtag #myMADDribbon in support of designated driving during the holiday season. MADD has plans to launch an online photo book, and it kicked off a campaign internally to encourage staff to creatively use the red ribbons.

MADD also has a t-shirt campaign with partner group Represent, added George, with all proceeds going to charity. Nationwide is matching any donation up to $200,000 made from December 1-15 as part of its Double the Impact to Lessen the Impact effort.

For target market cities where Nationwide and MADD’s "presence overlap," George said the groups will have local events to celebrate the campaign. The markets include Hartford, Connecticut, Chicago, Baltimore, Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina, New York City, Columbus, Ohio, and Austin and Houston, Texas.

The campaign continues through New Year’s Day, which George called "the deadliest day of the year on the nation’s roads."

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