'Hero' campaign enlists Ky. bars, encourages law enforcement to crack down on drunk driving

12/18/2012 05:11 PM

Kentucky is now the fourth state in the nation to officially embrace the HERO campaign aimed at curbing drunk driving by encouraging designated drivers.

Gov. Steve Beshear signed a proclamation Tuesday at the Prime Lounge in downtown Louisville designating it HERO day.

Meanwhile, bars that participate in the program will offer free soft drinks to those who serve as designated drivers. And law enforcement officials from the Kentucky State Police and Louisville Metro Police Department said cutting down on drunk driving and spreading the goals of the HERO campaign will be priorities in 2013.

The HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers was created by William and Muriel Elliott, whose son, John R. Elliott, was killed in 2000 by a drunk driver. Elliott had just graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and was on his way home to New Jersey.

The Elliotts spoke at Tuesday’s press conference:

Drunk driving now accounts for about 20 percent of deaths on Kentucky roadways, said Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer. He said that’s a drop from a peak of about 40 percent and is lower than many states — but still too many for “what should be easily preventable.”

Last year, Kentucky law enforcement made 26,000 arrests for driving under the influence, Beshear said.

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