Press Release

‘Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving’ Campaign Unveils New Television PSAs for the Holidays

December 19, 2011

TVB teams up with Ad Council and NHTSA for the eighth year to encourage drivers not to drive buzzed

NEW YORK — (December 19, 2011) — Most people know about the dangers and consequences of drunk driving but few know that “buzzed” driving can get you busted, too.

For the eighth consecutive year, TVB (www.tvb.org), the not-for-profit trade association of America’s commercial broadcast television industry, has joined forces with the Ad Council and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to launch Project Roadblock, a public service advertising (PSA) initiative launching December 26, to remind holiday revelers about the dangers and consequences of not planning ahead and designating a sober driver before you go out.  

Continuing the theme “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving,” the campaign will debut two television PSAs created pro bono by Merkley + Partners, targeting men, aged 21 to 34. The PSAs illustrate that a single careless moment can not only be life-altering but expensive. The financial consequences of being stopped for driving buzzed can be around $10,000, including costs for posting bail, towing, fines, attorney fees and higher insurance premiums.

“Drunk driving is a preventable crime that can have tragic consequences for victims and offenders,” said David L. Strickland, Administrator of the NHTSA.  “We want to make sure everyone understands that buzzed driving is drunk driving - never get behind the wheel if you’ve had too much to drink.”

During the holiday week of December 26 through New Year’s Eve, one of the deadliest auto-fatality weeks of the year according to the NHTSA, local broadcast TV stations nationwide are encouraged to air the “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving” PSAs with a concentrated rotation of the on-air spots and online banner.Additionally, TV stations will also support the critical campaign message via text message, Facebook posts and tweets to their viewers. 

“Awareness about this issue has increased every year since the first Project Roadblock in 2004, and it has had the desired effect with increased mindfulness on the roadways during the holiday season,” said TVB President and CEO Steve Lanzano. “Last year over 1,000 primary and digital sub channels participated in this initiative - demonstrating the power of the medium and its effect on social change.”

The Ad Council has conducted surveys following the campaign every year since January 2006 of adults over the age of 21, and results continue to show more of them refraining from drinking and driving. The most recent results in January 2011 demonstrated:

  • Increased awareness of the campaign. Nearly one-half of adults ages 21+ (49%) and 56 percent of men ages 21-35 are familiar with the campaign.
  • Increased commitment to avoiding buzzed driving. About half of adults ages 21+ (47%) said they would ‘always’ get a ride from a friend, take a taxi or public transportation rather than drive buzzed, significantly higher than 2006 (41%). There has been similar growth on this measure among menages 21-35, from 39 percent in 2006 to 47 percent in 2011.
  • Changed behaviors following the holiday season. The percentage of adults 21+ reporting that they had refrained from driving after drinking in the past month rose from 9 percent in January 2006 to 13 percent in January 2011. The growth was also significant among men 21-35, from 17 percent to 25 percent.

Most important is the decrease in auto fatalities.  In 2005, about 13,500 people died in car crashes involving a driver or motorcycle rider with a blood-alcohol level of .08+. That number has declined steadily every year, decreasing to 10,228 in 2010. The Buzzed Driving campaign, in concert with stepped up law enforcement initiatives and other messaging programs, has contributed to this welcome trend.

“Our research has shown that we need to reduce the target’s confidence level about driving after drinking, so that we can help decrease the number of fatalities and injuries linked to impaired driving,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “We are grateful to local television nationwide for coming together to donate their valuable inventory to support this critical safety message during this time of year.”

About TVB

TVB is the not-for-profit trade association of America’s commercial broadcast television industry. Its members include television broadcast groups, advertising sales reps, syndicators, international broadcasters, associate members and over 500 individual television stations . TVB actively promotes local media marketing solutions to the advertising community, and in so doing works to develop advertising dollars for the medium’s multiple platforms, including on-air, website and mobile. TVB provides a diverse variety of tools and resources, including this website, to support its members and to help advertisers make the best use of local ad dollars.

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