PA Launches HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers®

December 20, 2013
The State Police Commissioner, PLCB Chairman and PennDOT Executive Deputy Secretary joined with representatives of the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers to kick off the program aimed at promoting safe and sober driving in the commonwealth.

Promotes Designated Driving in Memory of U.S. Naval Officer

The Pennsylvania State Police, PennDOT and the Liquor Control Board today announced a new, statewide campaign to promote designated driving in an effort to keep drunk drivers off the road.

The State Police Commissioner, PLCB Chairman and PennDOT Executive Deputy Secretary joined with representatives of the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers® to kick off the program aimed at  promoting safe and sober driving in the commonwealth.

The event was held at Red Robin, a corporate sponsor of the campaign in Pennsylvania. As part of the campaign, the owner of the restaurant, Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group, agreed to offer free soft drinks to designated drivers at all 20 of its franchise locations.

Pennsylvania is the fifth state to officially adopt the campaign, which is active in states from Massachusetts to Kentucky.

“Every single injury and death caused by drunk driving
is totally preventable by not driving under the
influence,” said State Police Commissioner Frank
Noonan. “Don’t risk getting arrested for DUI or worse,
for injuring or killing someone by getting behind the
wheel of a car while intoxicated -- a person's driving
ability can be impaired after only one drink and this
impairment combined with driving can result in the
unnecessary tragic loss of life.”

Bill Elliott and his wife Muriel started the HERO
Campaign for Designated Drivers in memory of their
son, U.S. Navy Ensign John R. Elliott, who was killed in a
collision with a drunk driver in July 2000. While at the
U.S. Naval Academy, Ens. Elliott was selected as a
Human Education Resource Officer (HERO) to counsel
and mentor other members of his company and was
named “the outstanding HERO” of his graduating class.
Ens. Elliott was killed two months after graduating from
the academy.

“We are proud to bring the HERO Campaign to
Pennsylvania and to work with our partners to prevent
drunken driving tragedies like the one that took the life
of our son,” said Bill Elliott, John’s father. “We want to
spare other families from suffering a similar loss.”

Multiple Pennsylvania agencies will promote the
campaign and its message, “Be a HERO. Be a
Designated Driver,” through highway digital message
boards, posters in participating bars and restaurants and
thousands of car window decals distributed at upcoming
State Police DUI checkpoints.
“Drunk and drugged driving remains a major concern in
Pennsylvania, and unfortunately this is completely
preventable,” PennDOT Executive Deputy Secretary Brad
Mallory said. “Each time someone doesn’t get behind the
wheel impaired, or they serve as a designated driver,
they’re honoring the memory of people we’ve lost to
impaired driving and helping to prevent further
tragedies.”

Establishments licensed to serve alcohol are encouraged
to join Red Robin and serve free soft drinks to
designated drivers in exchange for providing their
friends and loved ones safe rides home.

“This is the time of year when people will gather with
friends, colleagues and family to enjoy time together
and celebrate the upcoming holidays. Often, those social
events include alcohol,” said PLCB Chairman Joseph E.
Brion. ”We encourage our licensees to provide a free
beverage option for those who make what could be a
life-saving decision to forgo alcohol. If you’re getting
behind the wheel, one alcoholic drink is one alcoholic
drink too many.”

The HERO Campaign seeks to register a million
designated drivers nationally through its website,
www.herocampaign.org, and to make the use of
designated drivers as automatic as wearing a seatbelt.

“The Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group is proud to be a
corporate sponsor for the HERO Campaign in
Pennsylvania,” said Jim Ryan, CEO, Lehigh Valley
Restaurant Group, Inc. “We applaud Bill and Muriel
Elliott for their ongoing commitment to expand the HERO Campaign and create these partnerships with
various Pennsylvania agencies and our Red Robin
restaurants to make this campaign launch a success.”

Over the past 13 years, the HERO Campaign has grown
into a major initiative to prevent drunk driving. The
Philadelphia Phillies, New York Giants, and New England
Patriots all support the campaign by registering
designated drivers and serving them free soft drinks at
their stadiums.

For more information about the HERO Campaign, log on
to www.herocampaign.org

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