The John R. Elliot Hero Campaign for Designated Drivers has expanded to seven states outside of New Jersey and is getting attention at high-profile venues, including a NASCAR event and an NFL game involving the New England Patriots next month.
The campaign began in 2000 when Navy Ensign Elliot, of Egg Harbor Township, was killed by a drunken driver soon after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy.
State Police since have partnered with the campaign and say it is a powerful tool in creating public awareness.
From 2000 to 2010, DWI fatalities decreased by 33 percent statewide, according to Tom Louizou, regional administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in New Jersey.
“Fatalities in crashes that involved a DWI driver of a car or motorcycle declined from 228 in 2000 to 153 in 2010,” Louizou said.
The campaign’s partnership with schools, law enforcement and the alcohol industry have helped to “stem the tide of drunk driving by increasing the use of designated drivers,” campaign chairman and co-founder Bill Elliott said.
Bill and Muriel Elliott served as grand marshals for the K&N NASCAR series Drive Sober 150 Friday in Dover, Del.
The campaign is now in seven states. Three HERO walks will be held in October, including Ocean City on Oct. 6; Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., on Oct. 20 with the New England Patriots; and the University of Delaware on Oct. 26.
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