SOMERS POINT, N.J. – Last year there were ten traffic fatalities reported in New Jersey during the New Year’s holiday.
While many like to usher in the New Year with a cocktail or two, the Hero Campaign hopes to put an end to traffic deaths caused by drunk driving by asking everyone to either use or be a designated driver.
“The hero is the life of the party. You’re the one that makes it possible for people to be safe and have fun,” said Bill Elliot, who is part of the Hero Campaign.
Elliot lost his son in 2000 when he was killed by a drunk driver. Now he works to promote safe and sober driving especially during the holidays with the hero campaign. They partner up with driving services, colleges, bars, and restaurants to spread the word – if you’re drinking make sure you’re not driving.
“We feel good that in our son’s memory lives are being saved. Nothing will bring our son back but if we can prevent other people from getting what I call, ‘a parent’s worst nightmare’ that knock on the door at four in the morning, it’s all worth it,” said Elliot.
At participating bars like Gregory’s Bar in Somers Point, designated drivers receive soft drinks, water bottles, and juices complementary. Just let the bartender know, you’re the one with the keys.
“The way I think the designated driver should take control of the situation is have the keys. No question about it. Take the keys,” said Gregory Gregory, owner of Gregory’s Bar.
There even is a free digital Hero Card designated drivers can use to show bartenders that they’ve taken the Hero’s Pledge to get their friends home safe and sound. Gregory’s Bar has even gone as far as to hand out magnets with their logo on it to patrons on New Year’s Eve that can’t drive so they can place it on their cars and safely leave them in the parking lot overnight.
“Put the magnet on your car and we’ll know everything’s okay and we’ll know you’re there for a reason,” said Gregory.
Bars and taverns in seven different states now participate in the Hero Campaign and with New Year’s Eve just one day away, it’s the perfect time to pledge, too. Just go to their website and be a hero this New Year’s Eve.
“The most satisfying part in this program is the realization that we may be selling less liquor, but we’re ensuring the future for the next generation. My grandson Jack is seven years old and someday I hope him to be the ‘grand poobah’ or the CEO of Gregory’s,” said Gregory.