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Drunk Driving and Holidays: A Deadly Combination in Tennessee

PHOTO: Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Tennessee is reminding people to have a designated sober driver for their holiday festivities. Photo credit: Alan Cleaver/Flickr.
PHOTO: Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Tennessee is reminding people to have a designated sober driver for their holiday festivities. Photo credit: Alan Cleaver/Flickr.
November 26, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The holiday season in Tennessee is one of fun with friends and family, but it's also the deadliest time on the roads because of drunk driving. Kate Ritchie, state program director with Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Tennessee, says because of the increased risk, they're once again partnering with Nationwide Insurance for the "Tie One On For Safety" campaign.

"We are asking individuals to recognize themselves as a designated driver by stopping by any of the 50 Nationwide offices in the state of Tennessee or any of the MADD offices to pick up a red ribbon and tie it to the antenna of their car to indicate they are a designated driver," she says.

Last year in Tennessee, more than 200 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes across the state, while state troopers arrested nearly 6,500 people for driving under the influence.

The number of alcohol-related traffic crashes in Tennessee has been trending down over the past decade, but Ritchie notes they still account for about a quarter of all traffic fatalities.

"Being in this field and hearing so many heartbreak stories of parents that have lost their child or loved ones that have lost their spouses," says Ritchie. "They continue to share their story, to fight drunk driving because it's a heartbreak that nobody can understand to lose a loved one to a 100 percent preventable crime."

John Michaelson, Public News Service - TN