The Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, Safe Communities Coalition, Empower Somerset and local eating and drinking establishments, as well car dealerships, are promoting designated driving in an effort to keep drunk drivers off the road.
Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano has invited the community at large to support the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers aimed at encouraging safe and sober driving during the coming holidays.
Restaurants Big Heads Pub in Hillsborough, Southside Grille & Restaurant in South Bound Brook, Uncle Vinnie’s Clam Bar in Raritan, and Wasabi and Verve in Somerville have agreed to promote the HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers to their patrons. Bridgewater Lexus recently joined the campaign to support the initiative and is handing out HERO Campaign brochures and magnets.
“Every single injury and death caused by drunk driving is totally preventable by not driving under the influence,” said Sheriff Provenzano. “Don’t risk getting arrested for impaired driving 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 and 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, Ensign 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. He was killed two months after graduating from the academy.
Multiple New Jersey 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 the upcoming Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over initiative by the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety.
“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 Sheriff Provenzano. “We encourage bars and restaurants to provide a free beverage option for those who make what could be a life-saving decision to forgo alcohol.”
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.
For more information about the HERO Campaign, log on to www.herocampaign.org