The Livingston Police Department and Nursing Division recently teamed up with MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers) to ask all holiday drivers to tie a red ribbon to a visible location of their vehicles. This was part of MADD’s longest-running public campaign called “Tie One On For Safety.” The ribbon is a symbol of the motorist’s pledge to drive safe, sober, and buckled up while reminding others to do the same.
According to James Bryant, National Program Manager for MADD, more than six million red ribbons are distributed throughout the year with the holidays being the prime time since it’s the heaviest travel time when many alcohol related crashes occur. “Red ribbons are a visual aid that acts like stop signs to remind people not to drink and drive,” he explained.
“We felt it was important to remind people of the dangers of drinking and driving,” said Dolores Keller, one of the township’s nurses and Health Educator who manned a table in town hall along with Police Officers Joy Klapal and Gary Mankowitz. Keller emphasized that, “Even one drink can be dangerous. That’s why we’re giving out the red ribbons.”
MADD reports that New Jersey ranks 16th in the nation in terms of total traffic deaths that are DUI related. Bryant said that although there’s been a five percent decrease in drunk driving fatalities since last year, it’s still a huge problem. AAA reports that of the 40,000 fatal car crashes this year, alcohol will be a major factor in almost half of these deaths.
Gussie Eisner had stopped in to town hall after reading about “Tie One On For Safety” on Patch. “People think they can drive when they really can’t. I think this is a good reminder to people, especially when some companies are having holiday parties.”
So what can you do to prevent driving while under the influence?
- Always designate a non-drinking driver if your outing/party involves alcohol.
- Be a responsible host. Offer non-alcoholic beverages, serve high protein snacks and provide alternate transportation or accommodations for guests who have been drinking.
And look for these signs that a person might be impaired when you’re on the road:
- Quick acceleration or deceleration or erratic braking
- Weaving across lanes
- Almost hitting an object, curb, or vehicle
- Slow response to traffic signals like sudden stops or starts
- Driving with headlights off at night
- Driving slower than 10 mph below the speed limit
- Turning abruptly or illegally
- Driving into opposing traffic on the wrong side of the road
If you suspect that someone is driving while under the influence, stay as far away from the other vehicle as possible. Don’t try to pass the it or signal the driver to pull over. Notice the license plate number of the vehicle including make, model and color, but don’t compromise your own safety trying to get this information. Finally, pull over and call 911.
Give the exact location of the vehicle, including the name of the road or cross streets and the direction the vehicle is traveling. Give a complete description of the vehicle and the manner in which the vehicle is being driven. Then, according to MADD, leave the rest up to the heroes that work hard to make our roads safe – the police.
To learn more about Mothers Against Drunk Driving, visit their website at www.madd.org.