The holiday season is approaching and that means MADD’s Tie One On for Safety Campaign is too.  I am asking for everyone to decorate their cars with red ribbons, decals or magnets to show that they pledge to always plan a safe ride home if their plans include alcohol.

When the weather turns cool and crisp and the leaves start to fall, my mind and heart turn to holidays… Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.  It’s a time to celebrate with family and friends.  It’s also a time for memories.   My last year as your National President has gone by quickly and it is bitter sweet for me.

While I love the holidays, I realize that as we ring in the new year, I will be ringing in a new chapter in my life.   However, MADD will remain close to my heart.  I will still volunteer because I know first-hand the value of MADD and the tremendous need that MADD has for volunteers.

I want to say it loud and clear that the holiday season is the most dangerous time on our nation’s roadways.   More people are traveling.  There are more festivities where alcohol is served.  And unfortunately, that adds up to a surge in drunk driving and more impaired driving crashes, fatalities and injuries. Last year, 1,143 people were killed between Thanksgiving Eve and New Year’s Day — that’s 58 more lives lost in 2017 than the same time period in 2016.

This is unacceptable! One death caused by an impaired driver, one injury caused by an impaired driver is simply one too many.  That is why I want to continue to spread the word about the importance of Tie One on For Safety, or as many of us call it, “TOOFS.”

MADD’s TOOFS campaign during the holidays is all about encouraging people to designate a non–drinking driver.  This simple choice will save lives.  As National President, my one wish every day is for you and your loved ones to reach home safely.  That wish takes on a greater sense of urgency during the holidays.

The good news is that drunk driving is 100 percent preventable 100 percent of the time.  And remember that impairment starts with the first drink. The solution to the carnage that impaired driving causes can be applied year-round.  Designate a non-drinking driver.  There is no reason to get behind the wheel impaired.  There are so many ways to get home safely…..Uber, public transportation, bus, taxi or that non-drinking designated driver.

With so many options available to you, there’s no reason to drive drunk.  If your plans during the holidays are likely to include alcohol, designate a non-drinking driver.

I want to honor everyone who has been a designated driver. Think of the lives you may have saved through your actions.  And thanks to all of those who will serve as a designated, non-drinking driver this holiday season.

I want to personally thank all law enforcement officers around the country who will be working harder than ever this holiday season to protect the public from drunk driving through the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement efforts.

I want to encourage you to connect with MADD to purchase a  Tie One On for Safety red ribbon, magnet or window decal for all of your vehicles as a reminder to plan ahead before your celebrations with family, friends and co-workers that may include alcohol.

We also have safe party tips at madd.org/safeparty – where you can check out ways you can have fun while being safe these holidays!

Every community and every person can play a role in making our roads safer.  Please show your support by tying a ribbon on for safety…  and ask your friends to do it too.  Together, we can create a day when there are NO MORE VICTIMS.