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MADD, HBPD urge celebrants to chose designated drivers

Mothers Against Drunk Driving Florida and the Holmes Beach Police Department urge adults to plan for a non-drinking designated driver.

The push comes with the arrival of the holiday season. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve in 2011, 931 people were killed in drunken driving crashes nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

MADD’s Tie One On For Safety red ribbon campaign, now in its 27th year, is the organization’s signature public awareness program and is sponsored by National Presenting Sponsor Nationwide Insurance. Drivers across the country display MADD red ribbons on their vehicles as a reminder to plan and designate a non-drinking driver.

“MADD Florida encourages all adults to always designate a non-drinking driver before leaving home for holiday festivities,” said Monica Johnson of MADD Florida in a news release. “We’re honored to join with the Holmes Beach Police Department to Tie One On For Safety and help make our communities safer during the holiday season and year-round.”

The Holmes Beach Police will crack down on drunk drivers with a Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement effort.

“If you celebrate with alcohol, you do not belong behind the wheel,” HBPD Chief William Tokajer said in the release. “A sober and safe ride after your holiday gathering is the best gift you can give yourself and everyone else on the road this holiday season.”

According to the Florida Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles 2012 Annual Traffic Crash report, DUI crashes in Manatee County increased by nearly 7 percent from 2011, to 304 crashes. Additionally, in Manatee County, 20 people were killed in DUI crashes, a 33 percent increase from 2011, and another 141 people were injured.

Free Tie One On For Safety red ribbons are available at the Holmes Beach Police Department, 5801 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, or by contacting Monica Johnson at Monica.Johnson@madd.org.

For more information, visit www.madd.org.

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