Gov. Dave Heineman today reminded Nebraskans to drive safely as winter and the holidays approach.
“Winter weather conditions, which are likely to occur here in the next 24 to 48 hours, and extra holiday traffic can turn deadly when alcohol is added to the mix,” Heineman said during a news conference held in front of the governor’s residence.
Heineman joined with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to ask Nebraskans to plan ahead when they go to a party; to make arrangements for a designated driver or an alternative ride home if they plan to drink.
First Lady Sally Ganem also urged Nebraskans to stem underage drinking by denying teen-agers alcohol at holiday gatherings.
“By making the choice not to provide alcohol to our youth and we keep them safe both in our homes and on the road,” Ganem stated. “Make this holiday memorable for all the right reasons.”
The theme “Tie One On for Safety” is being used this year to remind Nebraskans of the dangers of driving drunk. Red ribbons have been supplied by MADD Nebraska to tie on vehicle antennas to remind people not to drink and drive.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2011, the latest statistics available, 931 people died in drunken driving accidents nationwide between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.
Andrea Frazier, Program Manager with MADD Nebraska, said Nebraskans need to take time to think about how they will handle both winter and holiday parties.
“And do we ask that over the holiday season and throughout the entire year, have a plan. Designate a non-drinking driver to get you (home) safely, so everyone on the roadways can be safe,” Frazier said.
A mother who lost her son and his girlfriend in a drunk driving accident urged Nebraskans during the news conference to never drive drunk.
Kim Milana of Lincoln described for reporters how her oldest son and his girlfriend died when a drunk driver attempted to make a left turn into the path of his motorcycle and struck it almost head-on.
“It’s hard enough to lose one loved one to a repeat drunk driver, but to lose two loved ones is an unimaginable pain that is still felt daily by many people.”
AUDIO: Gov. Dave Heineman and MADD Nebraska hold a news conference on safe drive during the holiday season. [10 minutes]