Press Release

Local TV stations take stand against drunk driving during the holidays

Longstanding effort from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Television Bureau of Advertising and the Ad Council emphasizes states with most holiday season drunk driving fatalities

NEW YORK, Dec. 13, 2019 -- According to the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 839 Americans lost their lives in car crashes involving a drunk driver in the December 2018 holiday season. To help make our roads safer during this time of year, the Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB) today announced the 16th annual "Project Roadblock" initiative, in which local broadcast TV stations donate advertising time/space to support NHTSA and the Ad Council's "Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving" PSA campaign.

While the end of the year brings about the merriment of the holiday season, Americans must be sure to stay safe on the roads, whether traveling to and from parties or vacation destinations since drinking and driving remains a serious public safety issue: according to statistics from NHTSA, in 2018 drunk driving claimed 10,511 lives.

To help the campaign's message reach those who could benefit most, Project Roadblock is conducting a special push to TV stations in the states that accounted for over two-thirds of all alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in the 2018 holiday season: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.

"Public service educational campaigns backed by tough laws and effective enforcement can save lives," said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao.

For over a decade and a half, local broadcast TV stations have participated in Project Roadblock by airing Buzzed Driving Prevention PSAs during the six-day period between December 26 and 31, with a special push at 10 p.m. local time on New Year's Eve. At Project Roadblock's inception in 2004, December was one of the deadliest drunk driving months of the year. As of 2017, it is the fourth least deadly.

"The holidays are an especially important time to get out this message of road safety," said NHTSA Acting Administrator James Owens. "We appreciate the broadcast television stations for their generous support in helping NHTSA prevent drunk driving tragedies during the holiday season."

2018 was another successful year for Project Roadblock with over 68,000 placements of donated on-air, digital sub-channel, online and mobile time and space by over 1,000 TV stations reaching all 50 states, resulting in nearly $8 million in donated media over the six-day period. Since Project Roadblock's inaugural year in 2004, broadcast TV stations across the nation have donated nearly $70 million in media to support this effort.

To date, 780 stations in 206 markets have already pledged their support for Project Roadblock 2019.  Broadcast groups Fox Television Stations; Graham Media; Hearst Television; Hubbard Broadcasting; Meredith Broadcasting; Morgan Murphy Media; Quincy Media; Sagamore Hill Broadcasting; Tegna, Inc. and Telemundo Group are just some of the groups who have pledged support from their stations.

The local TV stations also have access to brand-new English and Spanish-language PSAs, which can be sponsored by local businesses, such as car dealerships and auto repair shops, that wish to show their support for this important issue. Created by NBCUniversal, the sponsorable PSAs "Legend," and "Over the Top" reiterate the "warning signs" message.

"Every day local broadcast TV stations serve their communities with critical news, weather and information," said Steve Lanzano, President and CEO of TVB. "For the 16th year, local broadcasters will demonstrate their ongoing commitment to the safety and wellbeing of their communities by participating in this vital, lifesaving anti-buzzed driving campaign."

For Project Roadblock 2019, local television stations will feature PSAs designed to help individuals recognize the "warning signs" that they may have had too much to drink before driving, such as taking too many selfies, or oversharing at a holiday party. The PSAs end with the tagline "Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving," reminding drivers to find safe ways to get home instead of getting behind the wheel.

"Despite the extraordinary success of our campaign, drunk driving prevention is still a critical national issue," said Lisa Sherman, President and CEO of the Ad Council. "We're so grateful to local broadcast TV stations across the country that share this lifesaving message and help keep their communities safe every year."

For more information about Project Roadblock, visit tvb.org/projectroadblock, and follow the campaign online using hashtag #ProjectRoadblock on Facebook and Twitter.

NHTSA
For more than four decades, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has served as the key federal agency charged with improving safety on our nation's roadways. As part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, NHTSA is working to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries by promoting the use of safety belts and child safety seats; helping states and local communities address the threat of distracted, drunk and drug-impaired drivers; regulating safety standards and investigating safety defects in motor vehicles; establishing and enforcing fuel economy standards; conducting research on driver behavior and traffic safety; and providing consumer information on issues ranging from child passenger safety to impaired driving. For more information visit www.nhtsa.gov.

The Ad Council
The Ad Council brings together the most creative minds in advertising and media to address the most worthy causes. Its innovative, pro bono social good campaigns raise awareness. They inspire action. They save lives. To learn more, visit AdCouncil.org, follow the Ad Council's communities on Facebook and Twitter, and view the creative on YouTube.

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

SOURCE The Ad Council

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