The John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers, following the 14th anniversary of John R. Elliott’s death, announced the launch of its ‘100,000 Pennsylvania Heroes’ drive.
Preventing drunk driving tragedies by promoting the use of ‘safe and sober designated drivers’ is the mission of the HERO Campaign, and the new Pennsylvania initiative will distribute 100,000 decals to be displayed on car windows by motorists throughout the Keystone State.
The second phase of the drive will register hundreds of designated drivers throughout Pennsylvania, said Bill Elliott, chairman of the HERO Campaign.
Elliott said the HERO Campaign partners with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and the Pennsylvania State Police, and recruits bars and restaurants to adopt the HERO campaign and provide free soft drinks to designated drivers.
The ‘100,000 Pennsylvania Heroes’ drive follows the HERO Campaign’s launch in Pennsylvania in December 2013. At that time, Elliott said “We are proud to bring the HERO Campaign to Pennsylvania and to work with our partners to prevent drunken driving tragedies like the one that took the life of our son. We want to spare other families from suffering a similar loss.”
He noted that the Pennsylvania campaign is particularly meaningful to his wife Muriel, who grew up in Thompsontown, Pa., and graduated from Shippensburg University.
A grant provided by PENNDOT has financed the printing of 100,000 HERO Campaign decals, which are being distributed throughout the commonwealth, primarily by Pennsylvania State Troopers, in PENNDOT licensing centers and at other community events. The decals will serve to spread awareness of the HERO Campaign’s mission and promote the use and registration of designated drivers.
John R. Elliott, who had graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy two months before, was killed by a drunk driver on July 21, 2000, while driving from Annapolis, Md., to his home in Egg Harbor Township to celebrate his mother’s birthday. The HERO Campaign was founded that year by John Elliott’s parents, Bill and Muriel.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 33,561 people died in traffic crashes in 2012 in the United States (latest figures available), including an estimated 10,322 people who died in drunk driving crashes, accounting for 31% of all traffic deaths that year. In Pennsylvania, 409 people died in alcohol-related crashes in 2012.
The HERO Campaign is based at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in Galloway Township. It is a federally registered non-profit that forms partnerships with schools, professional sports teams, law enforcement agencies, taverns and restaurants, and community groups in its effort to promote the use of designated drivers.
Over the past 14 years, the HERO Campaign has grown into a major initiative to prevent drunk driving. The Philadelphia Phillies, New York Giants, and New England Patriots all support the campaign by registering designated drivers and serving them free soft drinks at their stadiums. The campaign is now active in seven states.
For more information about the HERO Campaign, go to www.herocampaign.org.