Bridgeport, CT – A drunk driving prevention campaign that seeks to recruit designated driver “heroes” is coming to Bridgeport in response to a controversial billboard displayed recently in the Black Rock section.
The HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers, dedicated to a young Navy officer killed by a drunken driver, is displaying four billboards with the message, “Be a HERO. Be a Designated Driver” and a picture of Navy Ensign John Elliott of New Jersey, who was killed by a drunken driver two months after graduating from the United States Naval Academy in July, 2000.
The billboards are appearing soon after a local law firm removed its billboard that displayed the phrase “Got Drunk?”, promoting its DUI legal defense services. The billboard space for the HERO Campaign messages was donated by Lamar Outdoor Advertising.
“We want to prevent drunken driving by promoting the use of safe and sober designated drivers to get people home safely,” stated Bill Elliott, chairman and founder of the non-profit HERO Campaign, and father of John Elliott. He said the HERO Campaign, which promotes its safety message throughout the Northeast, is not opposed to drinking, just drinking and driving.
The campaign partners with colleges, law enforcement agencies, bar and tavern associations and Major League Baseball and NFL Stadiums, looking to register and recognize designated driver, which Bill Elliott claims are true heroes. “A designated driver could have saved the life of our son and the man who hit and killed him. He would have been a hero to us.”
Last season, the New England Patriots registered an NFL record 20,000 designated drivers at its HERO Campaign booths in Gillette Stadium. The campaign is also interested in partnering with local colleges, and displaying the pictures of student designated driver heroes on future highway billboards.
Elliott said the campaign also will ask bar and tavern owners to promote the HERO Campaign by displaying HERO posters and serving free soft drinks to designated drivers.
The HERO Campaign has been awarded the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Public Safety Award for its program, which has been credited for helping to reduce DUI incidents in New Jersey, where it began. It also has been adopted by Delaware, Virginia, New York and Massachusetts. Former Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell also signed a resolution commending the HERO Campaign and its positive campaign to end drunk driving.
Elliott said the campaign seeks to register one million designated drivers nationwide, and make the use of designated drivers be as automatic as wearing a seatbelt. HERO Walks are planned in Connecticut and other states. HERO registration drives at Live Nation concert sites also have been held in Boston and other Northeast cities.
For more information on the HERO Campaign, logon to its website: www.herocampaign.org
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