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Here's the Scoop: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving (Blog)

A recovering alcoholic sheds light on the perils of driving while impaired.

Okay, here I go. I’m finally doing it. I’m starting my blog. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but like a typical alcoholic, I’ve got self-esteem issues. Can I really do this? Do I really have anything valuable enough to
say in a blog every week? 

To ease myself into the process, I thought I’d start with something obvious, especially for this time of year: a public service announcement (PSA) campaign about drunk driving. This one, called Project Roadblock, centers around a collection of TV spots sharing the theme “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.” 

Among my favorite spots is “Bad Daters,” featuring a young man and woman on their first date, which goes from awkward to terrible as the man allows the woman to pay for dinner, requires that she walk to his house in her high heels because he no longer has a car, and then turns out to live with his mom—all because he got busted for buzzed driving, which can cost you up to $10,000 in fines, legal fees and increased insurance rates. The memorable tagline: Buzzed. Busted. Broke.

Why the focus on “buzzed driving?”

Previous campaigns—including the famous Friends Don't Let Friends Drive
Drunk
campaign—have been highly successful: Research showed that
in 1998, 62 percent of Americans exposed to that ad had personally intervened to stop someone from driving drunk. Yet alcohol-related driving deaths steadily
increased from the late ’90s on; many intoxicated drivers now claimed to be
merely “buzzed” and still insisted on taking the wheel. In 2010, one person
every 51 minutes—10,228 in all—lost their lives in crashes involving drivers
with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, according to NHTSA. Hence
the new campaign, educating the public that even a few drinks can impair
driving.

On the social media front, there are a variety of great pieces of artwork on the NHTSA Facebook page

I’m partial to a shot of a nice-looking young woman dressed in a Santa suit sitting in the back of a cop car with a headline that reads “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Jail Time.”  Maybe it’s because I can relate—you see I was that young woman in the cop car (sans the Santa suit) some 25 years ago and trust me it’s an even worse picture than the one they portray in their photo. I was fortunate enough to walk away from my horrific situation without having hurt anyone; there was no accident or incident other than I was pulled over and the policeman discovered that I had been drinking and he thankfully took me off the road…in handcuffs.  I wasn’t thankful at the time, of course, but I am now! (I will be writing a separate post about my DUI experience. I want to make sure I am emphasizing the fact that this is a very serious offense.)

There’s also an interactive website, http://buzzeddriving.adcouncil.org, where visitors are asked to take a pledge not to drive while buzzed, watch one young woman’s story about the consequences of buzzed driving, and play the interactive game, “Spot the Differences.”

In addition, text messaging is encouraged—but not while driving, of course—
starting at the broadcaster level, where television personalities are asked to
“make these holidays as safe as possible by sending a ‘Buzzed
Driving is Drunk Driving…Pass it On!’
text message” to their viewers during
the holiday season. And finally, everyone is invited to follow the campaign on the NHTSA Twitter page and “Use the hash tag #buzzeddriving where appropriate and when character limits allow!”

Brought to you by the Ad Council, TVB, which is the trade association for America’s commercial broadcast TV industry, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the campaign runs during the week of Dec. 26 and culminates with a concentrated roadblock of on-air spots, texts, and tweets lead up to New Year’s Eve.  (This is apparently one of the deadliest auto-fatality weeks of the year.)     

It is beginning to look a lot like New Year’s Eve. But I hope that with this eye-catching PSA campaign, this will look a lot less like a season of buzzed driving.

Alison Hill is a local entrepreneur/publicist, loving wife and Mom, and a recovering alcoholic with a passion for the people who share her disease.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

LBV Collins December 31, 2012 at 06:34 PM
I like SPB's Party Trolly idea. The City should at least try it on holiday weekends when lots of drinking is expected. (How about tonight?) As for generating revenues from drunkards, JustUs, I suggest that undercover officers ride the Party Trolley... and arrest anyone who is publicly intoxicated (and being drunk and disorderly). Imagine: Officers get overtime pay, partiers can drink and don't have to drive, and belligerent drunks get to spend a night in jail and pay a fine. Strikes me as a win-win-win.
YoMomma January 03, 2013 at 06:45 AM
party trolly har har har......
TVOR January 05, 2013 at 05:31 PM
Justus, there are many public places where one must subject themselves to scrutiny before being allowed to enter. How about most government buildings for an example? If you don't like how the law reads then start an effort to change it.
JustUs January 05, 2013 at 05:42 PM
TVOR, sorry dude. Forcing innocent taxpayer motorists who have done absolutely nothing wrong to pull to the side of the road for police action (interrogation and search) is a violation of civil liberties on it's face. You are promoting the slippery slope. So why not let cops come to your home and do a warrantless 'health and safety' search for the good of you and your family? If they could find one illegal item or safety violation that could save ONE LIFE - wouldn't it all be worth it, TVOR??? heh. Besides, if you've got nothing to hide - why would you oppose it??? Is that the sort of society you want to live in, TVOR. Not me. If I wanted to live in a society like that I'd move to North Korea. You are promoting a slippery slope that will eventually turn us into North Korea. Be careful what you wish for, dude.
Amanda Godinez February 14, 2013 at 04:04 AM
This is such an important topic. My uncle is a heavy drinker so whenever he drinks "a little", he chooses to drive himself home. It is so sad to know that if he were to get into a car accident and harm someone else in the process, he could be sent to jail for a long time. People sometimes think that they are invincible and stuff like that wouldn't happen to them. I think this is especially for young college students. I am a Communications major at Cal State Fullerton and know a lot of people who drink. Drinking responsible is what matters and I truly believe that there can never be too many anti-drinking and driving campaigns.

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