Last December, 781 Americans lost their lives in car crash fatalities involving a drunk driver, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). To help make our roads safer during the holiday season, the Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB) today launched the 14th annual “Project Roadblock” initiative, in which local broadcast TV stations donate airtime to support NHTSA and the Ad Council’s “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving” PSA (public service advertising) campaign.
According to statistics from NHTSA, in 2016 drunk driving claimed a life every 50 minutes. At Project Roadblock’s inception in 2004, December was one of the deadliest drunk driving months of the year. As of 2016, it is the third least deadly.
To help the campaign’s message reach those who could benefit most, the Ad Council is conducting a special push to TV stations in the 10 states that accounted for 54% of all alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2016: Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and New York.
“The holidays are a time for Americans to enjoy with friends and family. And while they are celebrating, NHTSA is on duty, working to ensure a season of safe travels,” said Deputy Administrator Heidi King, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “Project Roadblock is critical to getting our message out through donated airtime on TV stations across the country: always drive sober.”
For over a decade, local broadcast TV stations have participated in Project Roadblock by airing Buzzed Driving Prevention PSAs during the concentrated six-day period between December 26 and 31, with a special push at 10 p.m. local time on New Year’s Eve.
2016 was the most successful year to date for Project Roadblock. Over 1,000 local broadcast TV stations from all 50 states participated, collectively donating a record $9.4 million in media value– an increase of over a million dollars from 2015. Since Project Roadblock’s inaugural year in 2004, broadcast TV stations across the nation have donated nearly $60 million in media to support this effort.
To date, 880 stations in 208 markets have already pledged their support for Project Roadblock 2017, outpacing last year’s pledge rate by nearly 20% and indicating this could be another record-breaking year for participation. Broadcast groups American Spirit Media; Azteca America; Entravision Communications; Graham Media; Gray Television; Hearst Television; Lockwood Broadcast Group; Nexstar Media Group, Inc.; Raycom Media, Inc.; Sinclair; Tegna, Inc.; and Weigel Broadcasting have pledged full support from their stations.
“Local broadcast TV stations demonstrate their commitment to the safety and wellbeing of their local communities through lifesaving emergency news and information every day,” said Steve Lanzano, President and CEO of TVB. “Through the united efforts of Project Roadblock for the past 13 years, local broadcasters have increased awareness and reduced incidents of drunk driving. TV station owners are proud to participate in this critical initiative using the unparalleled reach and influence of local broadcast TV.”
For Project Roadblock 2017, local television stations will feature PSAs designed to help individuals recognize the “warning signs” that they may have had too much to drink before driving, such as rolling down the windows for fresh air, or planning to take the back roads home. The PSAs end with the tagline “Probably Okay isn’t Okay,” reminding drivers to find a safe way to get home instead of getting behind the wheel.
The local TV stations also have access to additional English- and Spanish-language PSAs, which can be sponsored by local businesses, such as car dealerships and auto repair shops, who wish to show their support for this important issue. The sponsorable PSAs, including “Life’s Doors,” “Viral Consequences,” and “Neon Signs,” highlight the financial consequences of getting pulled over for buzzed driving.
“Drinking and driving touches every city and town across the country,” said Lisa Sherman, President and CEO of the Ad Council. “We’re proud and grateful that each year, more local broadcast TV stations across the country are sharing this lifesaving message and helping keep their communities safe.”
Extreme Reach, the cloud technology platform for TV & Video ad workflow and Talent & Rights management, has donated support to this year’s Project Roadblock effort. In addition to waiving fees for delivering the PSAs to local broadcasters, the company’s call center will assist the Ad Council in fielding inquiries from broadcasters during the holidays.
“The Ad Council’s ongoing commitment to making the roads safer during the holiday season is an important initiative that we are happy to support,” said Tim Conley, President of Extreme Reach. “Project Roadblock has successfully used the power of sight, sound and motion to make a real difference in saving lives.”
For more information about Project Roadblock, visit tvb.org/projectroadblock, and follow the campaign online using hashtag #ProjectRoadblock on Facebook and Twitter.