DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
July 18, 2014
For Immediate Release
State Launches TV, Radio, Campaign to Warn
Against Dangers of Underage Drinking, Driving
HARTFORD – A new state advertising campaign called “It’s Not My Kid” will launch Monday to raise awareness with parents about the dangers of underage drinking and driving, which happens with increased frequency during the summer months.
Connecticut’s 2013 self-reporting School Health Survey found that 36.7 percent of high school students said they had at least one drink of alcohol in the prior month, while more than one in five (20 percent) reported binge drinking, which is five or more drinks in a sitting. Meanwhile, 22.2 percent said they rode with some who was driving after drinking alcohol and 9.4 percent said they drove after drinking alcohol.
The campaign is sponsored through the state Coalition for the Prevention of Underage Drinking and the state Department of Transportation. It will feature 30-second television and radio advertisements as well as social media messages, billboard advertising and brief audio clips at gas station pumps.
“The leading cause of death for American teenagers is motor vehicle crashes and we have taken significant steps to deter the kinds of irresponsible behavior and poor decisions made by inexperienced drivers when they get behind the wheel,” said Governor Dannel P. Malloy. “When it comes to raising awareness among teens and parents about the dangers of reckless and impaired driving, we have found that television, radio and social media campaigns are most effective. We want to teenagers to know that drinking and driving more often than not has dire consequences, and this campaign brings that message home.”
The television ad shows a mock news story about an underage drinking incident with a teen known as “Not My Kid.” It centers on a drunk-driving fatality and ends with the message, “The sobering truth is that it could be your kid unless you lay down the law. Talk to your teen before underage drinking destroys.”
A radio ad follows the same script as well as an additional one entitled, “Not My Little Girl” that includes an ambulance being called to an underage drinking party and where a young girl has fallen and hit her head.
All the ads emphasize the tag line “underage drinking destroys” as an effort to reflect the blunt consequences of tragedy, as well as the loss of innocence and trust, that can follow episodes of drinking as well as drinking and driving. It also invites viewers and listeners to consider the number of harmful effects on the teens and parents as well as entire families and communities.
With a break in school and summer providing more free time to teens, the potential for excessive drinking as well as driving rises with trips to summer concerts, visits to the beach, parties in the woods near homes, house and pool gatherings while parents are away or even asleep. Parents must be aware of this serious issue and develop prevention strategies, say members of the coalition.
The coalition, comprised of law enforcement, medical doctors, prevention advocates, and state agencies, sought an educational approach aimed at parents because of their influence on teens and young adults. They also often are the ones called by hospitals following the need for emergency treatment.
“EMS systems and emergency departments across the country are saddled with the results of teen binge drinking from private parties, college parties, and concert venues. Patients are brought in comatose or nearly so from the effects of alcohol and or drugs,” said Dr. C. Steven Wolf, MD, chairman of Emergency Medicine at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center. For several years, he also has helped to lead prevention efforts, especially at concert venues in the state through the North Central Connecticut Emergency Medical Services Committee.
He said the dangers rise dramatically when these underage drinkers get behind the wheel and could hurt themselves, passengers and other innocent people on the road.
DOT is using federal funds earmarked for the prevention of drinking and driving to support this campaign. The ad campaign was designed by Cashman & Katz Integrated Communications of Glastonbury. The coalition is comprised of representatives from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, state Departments of Consumer Protection, Motor Vehicles, Mental Health and Addiction Services, Public Health, Office of Policy and Management, state Division of Liquor Control and state Judicial Branch, State Police, Hartford Police, Glastonbury Police and Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Hartford Hospital, Connecticut Children’s, and Yale-New Haven Hospital, the Governor’s Prevention Partnership, Live Nation concert promoter and Mourning Parents Act, Inc.