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MADD: "Tie One on for Safety" Urges Floridians Not to Drink and Drive

December 22, 2008

This may be "the most wonderful time of the year," but Mother"s Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.) says it can also be the most deadly. The organization is urging supporters to "tie one on" this holiday season - a red ribbon that is - to remind others not to drink and drive. Volunteers will hand out 6 million red ribbons across the nation as part of the Tie One On for Safety campaign.

Don Murray, executive director of Florida M.A.D.D., believes the campaign will build awareness to save lives.

"You don’t have the right to kill my kid; you don’t have the right to kill my wife; and when you have been drinking to excess and you get behind the wheel of that 2,000- or 2,300-pound vehicle, you’ve basically pointed a loaded pistol at everyone on the road."

Nationwide, more than 1,000 people were killed by drunk drivers between Thanksgiving and New Year’s last year. Many others were injured or maimed, ruining the lives of both driver and victim, Murray adds.

"We just want to remind folks that the holidays are coming up, somebody loves you and you need to make a responsible decision before you decide to celebrate with alcohol. Have someone else drive you."

Alcohol first impairs vision, then judgment, so people are unable to determine when they have had too much. M.A.D.D encourages designating a driver, not letting others drive drunk, or calling a cab when the celebration includes alcohol.

"Drunk driving is 100-percent preventable; it’s all because of choices. It wasn’t an accident that you decided to drink, nor that you decided to get in your car afterward and drive."

In Florida, drunk drivers claimed over 900 lives last year, ranking the state ninth in the nation, according to M.A.D.D.

The Florida Highway Patrol announced increased DUI checkpoints for the holiday season, and AAA is offering free rides and free towing for anyone who's had too much to drink.

More information is available at www.madd.org.

Gina Presson/Gina Presson , Public News Service - FL