Waymo, MADD Offer Safety with AV for Revelers over the Holidays
It is an idea that has long been anticipated—for good reason. Imagine taking to the highways over the holidays with autonomous vehicles handling the excess traffic. It is the goal of these vehicles to create an accident-free world of transport. It may be a bit of a stretch to think it could be 100% problem-free, but it will make a massive difference in the number of accidents that the world has to experience once these vehicles get just a little bit more reliable. It’s not going to be much longer before they are the norm and not the dream.
Phoenix Arizona and San Francisco California got some exciting news last week.
As the holiday season approaches, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and Waymo, an autonomous driving technology company, are urging the public not to drink and drive, and to designate a non-drinking, non-consuming driver.
Despite fewer cars on the road during the first half of 2020 due to the pandemic, drivers face risks on our roads. Recent data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA) shows people are driving more often at excessive speeds, fewer people are wearing seatbelts, and more drivers have alcohol or drugs in their systems.
Some of the most historically dangerous days to be on the road are approaching. The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve has long seen spikes in the number of traffic deaths caused by drunk driving. In 2018, 1,068 people were killed in drunk-driving-related traffic deaths between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, accounting for 29% of all traffic deaths during that time, according to NHTSA.
“With the rising number of tragedies during the Holiday Season, MADD’s annual Tie One On for Safety campaign is more important than ever, and we are proud to partner with Waymo to remind everyone to plan ahead before the festivities begin,” said MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church. “We want everyone to designate a non-drinking driver to get them home safely, and we want to highlight the promise that self-driving vehicles hold for a future of No More Victims of these 100 percent preventable tragedies.”
For 40 years, MADD has been fighting the epidemic of substance-impaired driving on our nation’s roads. The Tie One On For Safety campaign is MADD’s longest-running public awareness project. It’s MADD’s original designated driver campaign that reminds people to designate a sober, non-drinking non-consuming driver with the goal of eliminating drunk and drugged driving on our nation’s roads.
Tie One On For Safety begins during the holiday season and continues until New Year’s Day. While the campaign originally involved tying red ribbons to vehicle antennas, participants in the campaign now apply red ribbon magnets on their vehicles.
Waymo has partnered with MADD on the Tie One On For Safety campaign for the last three years, affixing magnets to the vehicles in its Phoenix fleet. This year, Waymo will also place magnets on the company’s San Francisco fleet of electric I-PACEs.
Waymo and MADD are partners of Let’s Talk Self-Driving, a campaign to raise awareness about the potential of autonomous driving technology to make roads safer.
About Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking. MADD has helped to save 380,000 lives, reduce drunk driving deaths by more than 50 percent and promote designating a non-drinking driver. MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® calls for law enforcement support, ignition interlocks for all offenders and advanced vehicle technology. MADD has provided supportive services to nearly one million drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge through local victim advocates and the 24-Hour Victim Help Line 1-877-MADD-HELP. Visit www.madd.org or call 1-877-ASK-MADD.