RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – You drink. You drive. You go to jail. It's a preventable crime, yet every New Year's Eve hundreds of people are pulled over for driving drunk. But through simple ribbons Mothers Against Drunk Driving hopes to change the streets.
The goal is to have 'Tie One On' campaign ribbons on every vehicle near big crowds. That way, when people see red, they stop and think: if I'm drinking tonight... I better not be driving.
Partier Pamelia Watts can hardly wait for the countdown. She's throwing a big party to ring in 2010.
"Any drinking? No! It's strictly pop," she said.
Even though her guests won't be drinking she says on nights like New Year's Eve: you've got to worry about the other guy.
"I think drinking and driving is stupid and that's what I've always tried to instill in my kids," Pamelia said.
"People need to take responsibilities for their actions and this is a great reminder," said partier Garry Ellis.
Red ribbon in hand, he's reminded that last year, in Virginia alone drunk drivers killed more than 350 people. They injured 7,000.
"We're hoping that when people are in an establishment where they may have been drinking, or at a friend's house where they were drinking, that they come out and they see a red ribbon on their car or someone else's car they think twice. Am I ready to drive? Am I in good shape to drive? Or should I call a cab?" said Chris Konschak, MADD.
Konschak says MADD's rolled out the campaign every year for the last 23 years. State Farm Insurance and the Attorney General's Office are also supporters.
"This is not a traffic infraction, it is in fact a criminal offense," said Bill Mimms, Virginia Attorney General.
Mimms says staying away from the keys would prevent almost half of all the fatalities in the commonwealth. Garry and Pamelia are all for that.
"I think it starts within you to make a commitment that I'm not going to drink and drive," Pamelia said.
You can get your free ribbon at any State Farm Insurance office or through MADD. Don't forget about the stiff penalties if charged with a DUI: loss of your license, jail time, thousands in fines. And you could lose your job. Not the best way to start a new year.