WASHINGTON, DC -- Today The Century Council provided Capitol Hill staff and Members of Congress with the chance to learn about how alcohol affects a person’s body and how to get home safely during the holidays. Additionally, 10 leaders from across the nation were honored for their leadership in traffic safety with The Century Council’s second annual Kevin E. Quinlan Traffic Safety Awards. The annual event was held with the Congressional Stop DUI Caucus in attendance and aimed to increase awareness of the dangers of drunk driving, particularly during the holiday season.
“The holiday season is the perfect time for families and friends to gather and enjoy each other’s company. Our goal is teach attendees there is no reason for driving drunk during the holidays or any other time of the year. It’s dangerous, illegal and there are many other good options for getting home safely,” said Ralph Blackman, President and CEO of The Century Council. Statistics released last month by the Department of Transportation show that 2012 is the first time since 2005 that there was a one-year increase in drunk driving fatalities. It is critically important for people to make responsible decisions in order to get back on track with effectively reducing drunk driving and underage drinking, especially during the holiday season.
The Century Council honored the following 10 national traffic safety leaders today:
· Jonathan Beeton, Communications Director for Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), resident of the Washington D.C. area and a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan who has contributed to reductions in underage drinking and drunk driving;
· Mike Boland, Longtime volunteer with Mothers Against Drunk Driving from St. Louis, Missouri whose leadership led to the passage of many effective anti-DUI laws;
· The Honorable James Dehn, Judge in the Isanti County District Court in Minnesota whose innovative sentencing and community contributions have dramatically decreased drunk driving;
· Cathy Gillen, Traffic safety leader and consultant from Hanover, Maryland with over 20 years of demonstrated leadership on all aspects of traffic safety;
· The Honorable Gary Graber, Judge in Darien Center, New York who has led efforts to reduce underage drinking through the passage of effective legislation;
· Kate Hallahan, The lead staffer for Transportation issues on the House Appropriations Committee whose efforts led to increased traffic safety funding for states including better data, better training and high visibility law enforcement efforts;
· Rachel Kelly, Deputy Chief of Staff to Congressman Jim Himes (D-CT) who chairs the Congressional Stop DUI Caucus in the House of Representatives;
· Elizabeth Ryan, Teen traffic safety advocate from Sterling, Virginia who has been instrumental in efforts to improve teen driver safety;
· Tracee Sutton, Legislative Director to U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp who chairs the Congressional Stop DUI Caucus in the Senate;
· David Wallace, Traffic safety professional and former prosecutor who was the first traffic safety resource prosecutor in Michigan, the first director of the National Center for DUI Courts and now is a highway safety advocate whose use of social media is an innovative way to reach and communicate with stakeholders in highway safety.
In addition to the Kevin Quinlan traffic safety award, attendees at the event could try on Fatal Vision Goggles in order to safely experience what it feels like to be at high BAC levels, see the effects on motor skills, and better understand the dangers of drunk driving. Attendees were able to play The Century Council’s interactive traffic safety trivia game and learn more about how alcohol affects their personal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels. Kurt Erickson, President of The Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s (WRAP) was present to speak about the free SoberRide initiative in the Washington, DC metro area during the Holiday Season.
About the Century Council
The Century Council is a not-for-profit organization funded by distillers including Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam Global Spirits & Wines, Inc., Brown-Forman; Constellation Brands, Inc.; DIAGEO; Hood River Distillers, Inc.; Pernod Ricard USA; Inc. Through legislation, education, and public awareness campaigns, The Century Council promotes responsible decision-making regarding beverage alcohol, focusing on drunk driving and underage drinking. For more information on The Century Council please visit: www.centurycouncil.org.
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