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As we kick off the holidays, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is reminding adults to plan ahead for a safe way home if they’re planning to drink alcohol during the season’s festivities. Data show that the time period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day includes some of the most dangerous days for drunk driving deaths, and the numbers are getting worse in recent years — as annual drunk driving deaths have decreased, there has been an increase in the proportion of drunk driving deaths around the holidays. In addition, there’s a troubling trend of drunk driving fatalities in the early morning hours of Thanksgiving Thursday, following what’s becoming known as “Blackout Wednesday,” a time when people who are home for the holiday are choosing to celebrate with excessive amounts of alcohol.
MADD’s Tie One On For Safety red ribbon campaign, now in its 26th year, is the organization’s signature public awareness project and is sponsored by National Presenting Sponsor Nationwide Insurance. Drivers across the country display MADD red ribbons on their vehicles as a pledge to drive safe and sober. The ribbons also signify support for law enforcement officers, who will be out in force as part of the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.
“During a time of year when some may choose to ‘tie one on’ in celebration of the holidays, MADD and Nationwide encourage drivers to Tie One On For Safety by displaying a red ribbon as a visible reminder to keep our roads safe,” said Bill Windsor, Nationwide Insurance Associate Vice President of Consumer Safety. “It’s about setting an example for your friends and family, co-workers and neighbors — if you drink, don’t drive.” It’s not just the Thanksgiving holiday that can be dangerous. On average in 2010, 31 percent of highway fatalities were caused by drunk driving. However, this number spikes dramatically over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays too:
Christmas Holiday (includes Christmas Eve and the surrounding holiday weekend)
2010: 96 people killed (37 percent of highway deaths)
2009: 95 people killed (36 percent of highway deaths)
2008: 138 people killed (32 percent of highway deaths)
New Year’s Holiday (includes the holiday weekend surrounding New Year’s Eve)
2010: 143 people killed (48 percent of highway deaths)
2009: 185 people killed (40 percent of highway deaths)
2008: 175 people killed (41 percent of highway deaths)
In addition, New Year’s Day is especially dangerous, with 57 percent of all traffic fatalities involving a drunk driver in 2010. An infographic illustrating additional details about drunk driving fatalities during the holidays and year-round is available at www.madd.org/TOOFSinfographic. It was created by Joni Graves, with the Wisconsin LTAP (Local Technical Assistance Program) at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, who adapted the concept from her Wisconsin Crash Calendar data visualization project. Her entry won MADD’s first-ever Tie One On For Safety Infographic Challenge, which was announced at this year’s White House Datapalooza.
To get a red ribbon or for more information about Tie One On For Safety, visit www.madd.org/toofs. For information about MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, visit www.madd.org/campaign.
*2010 is the most recent year for which there is data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
About Mothers Against Drunk Driving Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to protect families from drunk driving and underage drinking. With the help of those who want a safer future, MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® will end this danger on America’s roads. MADD also supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every eight minutes through local MADD victim advocates and at 1-877-MADD-HELP. Learn moreat www.madd.org.