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% 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
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 then 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 doing a separate post on my DUI experience. I want to make sure I'm emphasizing 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.