Brandenton, FL — Dr. Sarah H. Pappas, President of Manatee Community College (MCC), welcomed Congresswoman Katherine Harris (R-13) and Jay Hibbard of The Century Council, a national not-for-profit organization funded by distillers dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, to MCC to showcase a national public education and awareness campaign today. The national bilingual effort is a response to recent research demonstrating that seven out of ten adults report that they do not know the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for driving in their own state.
“According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,
there were 1,274 alcohol-related traffic fatalities in Florida in 2003.
Sadly, 154 of those fatalities were among youth under 21. Until this
number reaches zero, we must continue to work together to reduce the
number of lives lost,” said President Pappas. “Education and raising
awareness, key to battling this problem, must be a community effort. I
am encouraged that MCC and The Century Council have made it a priority
to provide these programs to our school.”
"I am honored that Dr. Pappas invited me to participate in this essential effort to heighten awareness regarding the dangers of driving under the influence and underage drinking," Rep. Harris said. "I commend Manatee Community College and the Century Council for bringing this innovative initiative to Southwest Florida. Working together, we can - and we must - provide our young people with the tools they need to protect themselves and others from a needless, avoidable tragedy."
At the heart of the educational campaign is the Blood Alcohol Educator (BAE) CD-ROM, a credit card sized CD-ROM in both English and Spanish that educates the user on how alcohol influences their BAC level. Highlighting the campaign is a colorful van dubbed the Blood Alcohol Educator (BAE) that is
traveling the country to distribute the CD-ROMs. In almost six years’ time, the project has evolved into a successful national tour. To date, the BAE Van has traveled to 47 states and the District of Columbia.
The user-friendly vehicle converts into an interactive cyber-café that includes three computer terminals which allow visitors to use the BAE CD-ROM to estimate their BAC level based on sex, weight and the type and number of drinks consumed at the BAE CD-ROM’s virtual bar. In addition to reflecting a person’s BAC level, the CD-ROM includes a virtual clock that demonstrates how long it will take for an individual’s BAC level to return to .00.
“I am excited that Congresswoman Harris could participate in today’s launch, and appreciate Dr. Pappas’ invitation to visit MCC. It is encouraging to have a community leaders partner with The Council on this issue as we work to save lives in Bradenton,” said Hibbard. “Driving across the country in the BAE van provides us with a personal approach to educating Americans. We hope this grassroots educational and awareness campaign will maximize its impact and reduce the distinct awareness gap among Americans of what BAC laws are and how the law affects individuals differently. Additionally, we at The Council encourage everyone to log onto our website – www.b4udrink.org – to download the BAE CD-ROM.”
The Century Council