Education, free rides aim to reduce 'buzzed driving'

WJXT is proud supporter of 2017 campaign to reduce drinking, driving

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Project Roadblock 2017 is officially under way. It's a nationwide campaign to prevent people from drinking and driving during the holiday season.

Project Roadblock's main message is "buzzed driving is drunk driving" and it encourages people to designate a sober driver if they're going to drink at all.

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WJXT and the Northeast Florida Safety Council are proud supporters of the campaign, which runs through Dec. 31 -- over one of the deadliest weeks of the year for auto fatalities.

Since its inception in 2004, Project Roadblock, in combination with other drinking and driving prevention efforts, has helped decrease alcohol-impaired driving fatalities by 20 percent -- from 13,099 in 2004 to 10,497 in 2016. However, fatalities are up 1.7 percent since 2015.

The problem is even more acute in Florida and Georgia than the nationwide average.  Project Roadblock says that 841 of the 3,174 people died on Florida's roadways in 2016 -- 26 percent -- were killed as a result of alcohol-impaired accidents. That's a 6.7 percent increase over 2015.

In Georgia, 368 of 1,554 highway fatalities -- 24 percent -- were alcohol-related. That's up 2.8 percent over 2015.

A drunk-driving arrest can cost you $10,000 in legal fees, court costs and higher insurance rates, according to Project Roadblock.

The Ad Council released two videos that you may see on Channel 4 and Channel 17 during the week to help spread the message that "buzzed driving is drunk driving."

“We know people are going to be out enjoying the New Year, partying (and) having a good time," Uber driver Joseph Edwards said. "Hopefully each and every one of them will be responsible if they've had anything to drink. We definitely want everyone to bring in the new year safely."

Don't take any chances. If you have been drinking, don't get behind the wheel. For the holidays, there are at least two services that will get you for free:

AAA's Tow-To-Go service

In Florida and Georgia, you can call 855-2-TOW-2-GO or 855-286-9246, a tow truck will be dispatched to take the driver and vehicle home, within 10 miles. The service is free through 6 a.m. Jan. 2 and available to AAA members and non-members

Farah & Farah's Keep Our City Safe

The community initiative developed by personal injury attorneys Farah & Farah. provides free cab or Uber ride home on New Year's Eve, but you must preregister to get a code. It also makes free bicycle helmets available for children all year. Visit 

Project Roadblock is sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Ad Council and TVB, which is the not-for-profit trade association of America's commercial broadcast television industry.

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