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Press Release #10-003

NYC DOT Launches “You The Man” Ad Campaign On Eve Of Super Bowl Weekend To Reduce Drunk Driving In New York City

On the heels of record year for traffic safety, targeted campaign encourages New Yorkers to plan ahead with designated drivers, boosting the City’s efforts to make streets safer for all users

New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Deputy Mayor for Operations Edward Skyler today announced the launch of "You The Man," a new, multiplatform marketing campaign aimed at reducing driving while intoxicated (DWI) in New York City. Released following a record-low year for traffic fatalities in 2009 and in anticipation of the many citywide celebrations and gatherings for Sunday’s Super Bowl, the targeted campaign encourages New Yorkers to plan to have a designated driver before they embark on a night on the town—or to be a designated driver for their friends. The campaign is designed to appeal specifically to men ages 21-39, who in 2008 were responsible for 63% of alcohol-related crashes in New York City. While the campaign’s launch is timed to the nation’s most-watched sporting event, its humorous messaging works year-round with campaign visuals featuring messages written on drink coasters on a bar or a household coffee table, asking New Yorkers to "Be the Man. Be the Designated Driver." Campaign ads will be featured online, on outdoor signs and billboards, in bars and on 100,000 coasters distributed by Heineken USA and its local partner Phoenix/Beehive Beverages at establishments citywide and on local radio for the next year, with increased visibility around celebratory holidays and events such as the Labor Day, Memorial Day and 4th of July holidays and New Year’s Eve. Commissioner Sadik-Khan unveiled the campaign with Taxi and Limousine Commissioner/Chair Matthew W. Daus and New York Giants defensive lineman Chris Canty at ESPN Zone, a premier sports viewing and entertainment venue on Broadway and 42nd Street in Times Square, which will be showing Sunday’s big game.

"New Yorkers know that drinking and driving is a dangerous combination yet many often fail to plan ahead, endangering themselves and others on our streets," said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. "The City’s streets have never been safer, and New Yorkers can make a huge difference by taking the simple step of lining up a designated driver before that first drink. That includes the City’s nearly 100,000 designated drivers—our taxi and livery car drivers—who are always at the ready."

"As we build on efforts to make New York the safest city in the world, this campaign is an important addition to helping us stop drunk driving in its tracks," said Deputy Mayor Skyler. "The campaign marks a new way to get the message across about the dangers of DWI by applauding every designated driver in the City and those who plan responsibly. The campaign makes it even easier for New Yorkers to plan ahead before a night out and to choose the transportation option best for them."

Alcohol has been identified in upwards of 10% of fatal crashes citywide each year. In 2008 there were 1,079 alcohol-related crashes in New York City, resulting in 830 injuries and 18 deaths. That same year, more than half of these incidents involved male drivers, ages 21-39, a group that historical data shows are overrepresented in drunk driving accidents. Based on research and tailored to speak to men in this age range yet relevant enough for all New Yorkers to embrace, "You the Man" lauds the behavior of people who plan ahead and humorously valorizes friends for being designated drivers. To promote the campaign’s life-saving message, Heineken USA is distributing 100,000 "You the Man" coasters featuring the Web site to bars throughout the City through its local distributor Phoenix/Beehive Beverages. The Web site features important information on DWI, including facts and penalties, and an interactive quiz. In the coming months, contests and smartphone applications also are planned.

"Since our company’s beginnings, Heineken has focused on the responsible enjoyment of our products and supported solutions to issues associated with alcohol consumption," said John Doolan, regional vice president, Heineken USA. "We are happy to join the City of New York and Phoenix/Beehive Beverages in taking this important step to help encourage and celebrate the task of designated drivers across the city."

As part of the campaign and in partnership with the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), the agency also introduced the new online "Find-A-Ride" tool, allowing people to get the telephone number of TLC-approved livery car companies closest to any specified location in the City, so they can easily find a nearby car service at the end of a night on the town. Users can access the tool from the campaign’s Web site, YouTheManNYC.org, which is reachable from desktop or mobile browsers.

TLC supplied its Community Car licensee database to power the "Find-a-Ride" feature on the campaign’s Web site, giving New Yorkers quick and easy access to finding a reputable and safe ride home from their computers or smartphones. The service aims to assist New Yorkers in outer boroughs, who often find it more difficult to take public transportation or find a taxi or livery car late at night. To make the application more user-friendly, in the coming weeks visitors will be able to text the information to their cell phones for easy access during a night out.

"Our Find-A-Ride function has helped many people to get around more safely and conveniently," said TLC Commissioner Daus, "but this capability is never more important than when it is assisting someone whose judgment is impaired by alcohol. We are very pleased to be working with the DOT on this truly important and timely campaign."

To give a boost to designated drivers, ESPN Zone is offering free, unlimited soft drinks to anyone who identifies themselves as being a designated driver upon being seated in the restaurant on Sunday, Feb. 7.

"You the Man" builds on the City’s sweeping efforts to enhance safety for all street users and follows Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s recent announcement that New York City traffic fatalities fell to 256 in 2009, an all-time record since the City began tracking the information one century ago. The reductions in fatalities come as the City has instituted unprecedented safety improvements in street engineering and expanded NYPD enforcement of traffic laws across the five boroughs. The campaign also launches on the heels of more stringent DWI laws in New York State, including Leandra’s Law, which makes driving intoxicated with children in the car a felony offense. The law also mandates those convicted of a DWI-related offense have an ignition-interlock device installed in their vehicles.

For more information about the campaign, visit YouTheManNYC.org. For details about DOT’s efforts to enhance safety on streets, roadways, sidewalks and bridges in all five boroughs, visit www.nyc.gov/dot.

"You the Man" Campaign Visuals

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