Learning to #HolidayResponsibly on Capitol Hill
The holidays are a time to gather with friends and family to celebrate, but they’re also one of the most dangerous seasons on our nation’s roads. Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day all saw considerable increases in traffic this year according to AAA, and it is predicted that the December holidays will continue that trend.
More drivers traveling more miles means an increase in crash risk, longer trips mean it’s more likely that drivers are fatigued behind the wheel, and a car full of kids and the family dog can mean more distractions are present on the drive over the river and through the woods.
Holiday celebrations often also include alcohol. To share educational materials and messaging with members of Congress and Congressional staff so they can be safe and help their constituents stay safe on the roads during these times and throughout the year, each year, we hold an event on Capitol Hill.
This year, Shaquille O’Neal joined us to unveil a new law enforcement initiative with the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Next year, we will be providing funding to states to significantly increase the number of officers trained to detect drug-impaired drivers. Shaq, who is a reserve officer with the Los Angeles Port Police, a Miami Beach reserve officer and an honorary deputy, knows how challenging it is to identify drug-impaired drivers. It’s a complex process that requires special training. He is proud to be a part of expanding law enforcement’s ability to recognize an impaired driver – whether the driver is drunk, drugged, drowsy or distracted.
Attendees learned about our Virtual Bar, an educational tool that uses the latest science to show how, while drinking alcohol, different factors like the amount of food and water consumed, gender and weight affect your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC).
During the event we also honored six individuals with the fourth annual Kevin E. Quinlan Award for excellence in traffic safety. Kevin Quinlan was a highly respected traffic safety professional and pioneer who worked for more than 20 years at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). He was instrumental in promoting effective countermeasures to reduce fatalities, injuries, and crashes in all modes of transportation.
This year’s honorees, who have dedicated their careers to road safety and drunk driving prevention, are:
Jim Camp, Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor, Tennessee
Sergeant Ken Denton, Washington State Patrol
Moses Garcia, Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor, Washington
Dr. Jim Hedlund of Ithaca, New York
The Honorable Harvey Hoffman of Lansing, Michigan
The Honorable John Kennedy of York, Pennsylvania
As we applaud these award recipients, we remind everyone to stay safe on the roads this holiday season. Be sure to #HolidayResponsibly – before you go out, make sure you know how you’ll get home. Many organizations across the country provide free or discounted cab rides on major holidays. If you’re hosting a gathering that includes alcohol, provide non-alcoholic beverage options and food for your guests.
Use your social media channels to tell us what you’re doing to promote safety among your family members or in your community!
Devin Burke, Manager, Government Relations and Traffic Safety, joined Responsibility.org in 2011 and immediately became interested in the organization’s many programs and issue areas, especially those related to judicial education.