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Posts Tagged ‘United States Department of Transportation’

drunk-driving-1During the holiday season, it’s probably safe to assume that most of us will attend at least one holiday party. Whether it is a Christmas work party or an annual family reunion, it’s typical for alcoholic beverages to be on the guest list. For some, it is one of the only times of year where it is acceptable to get “buzzed” in front of your boss or grandma; however, sometimes, people take this too far.

As many of you may know, the holidays can be one of the deadliest and most dangerous times of the year due to impaired driving. In December 2007, 992 people were killed in crashes that involved a drunk driver, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That’s why every year around this time the NHTSA and www.stopimpaireddriving.org use aggressive marketing strategies to achieve real results.

Starting in 2006, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) and NHTSA launched the first-ever December holiday season advertising campaign “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.”helmet4

I’m sure that most of you have seen this ad by now.

Although I think this commercial is creative and to-the-point, I find it odd (and a bit misleading) that the USDOT and NHTSA only use one target demographic: 25-30 year old men. While this is a great image booster for teenagers and adult women in their 20s and 30s, it’s not an accurate, complete portrayal of the drunk drivers on the road. According to the NHTSA, “Young, white male drivers account for a large share of the alcohol-crash problem….Research continues to show that young drivers are more often involved in alcohol-related crashes than any other comparable age group….The highest intoxication rates in fatal crashes were recorded for drivers 21-24 years old (27 percent), followed by ages 25- 34 (24 percent) and 35-44 (22 percent).” Sure, men may be the most stereotypical demographic to drive drunk, but that doesn’t mean that women do not.

Maybe I’m being nitpicky, but I feel that USDOT and NHTSA could have produced a more accurate drunk driving advertisement. In my opinion, there are two places in this ad where a woman could have been used instead of a man: the car with the martini or the car with the cosmopolitan. I mean haven’t they watched Sex and the City? The ad also could have improved if all the men were not clearly around the same age. By adding one woman and one younger man, this ad could have become more realistic in my eyes ; however at the same time, I understand that the USDOT and NHTSA were presumably targeting the “prime suspects” for impaired driving.

Although it may seem like I’m criticizing the USDOT and NHTSA, I’m not. I am simply a detail-oriented PR student who sees room for improvement in a national advertisement. I think it’s imperative that both these government agencies continue to be proactive about the serious national issue with drunk driving.

By following these easy steps from http://www.stopimpaireddriving.com, a driver can enjoy a safe and festive holiday without jeopardizing their life and the lives of the others who may be on the road:

  • Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin;
  • Before drinking, please designate a sober driver and give that person your keys;
  • If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely;
  • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact your local law enforcement;
  • And remember, if you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

If there’s one thing you take away from this blog post let it be that no amount of good cheer will be able to save you from the consequences of drunk driving. If law enforcement officials catch you, they will arrest you. No exceptions. No excuses.

Don’t let this guy be you.

holiday-drinking

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