By: Ahmad Graves-El, SNJ Today
VINELAND, N.J. — A regional drunk driving prevention organization and the Vineland Police Department have joined forces in an effort to show local residents the importance of designated drivers.
A new Ford Explorer, driven by Sgt. Terry Hall, is being called a “rolling billboard” that will promote the mission of the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers.
“We established it in memory of our son, Navy Ensign John Elliott, who was killed in a collision with a drunken driver on Route 40 near Woodstown on July 22, 2000,” Bill Elliot, John’s father, said to SNJ Today. “Our mission is to prevent drunk driving tragedies by promoting the use of safe and sober designated drivers.”
“Since its inception in 2000, the HERO Campaign has continued to grow and is now active in seven states,” Mayor Anthony Fanucci, of Vineland, told SNJ Today. “The Campaign is credited with helping to reduce alcohol-related fatalities and incidents, including a 35 percent reduction in DUI fatalities in New Jersey and other states over the past decade.”
Along with Vineland, seven other New Jersey cities: Atlantic City, Evesham Township, Linwood, Lower Township, Middle Township, Ocean City, and Sea Isle City are participating in the HERO Campaign and are showcasing their own DUI prevention vehicles.
Mayor Fanucci says the new Vineland police cruiser “will be highly visible on the roads, at special events, and on visits to area schools or community organizations.”
According to a press release, the bright blue and yellow HERO Campaign logo with the message “Be a HERO. Be a Designated Driver” is prominently posted on the car.
While the new HERO Patrol Car is a mobile advertisement spreading the word about the significance of designated drivers, it will also serve as a memorial to a couple of fallen Vineland residents.
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This article was contributed by SNJ Today and appears in the newspaper’s March 10 print edition.