By Olivier Uyttebrouck / Journal Staff Writer
PUBLISHED: Saturday, June 20, 2015 at 12:05 am
This summer’s campaign to discourage drunken driving will include the usual saturation patrols and DWI checkpoints, plus an advertising campaign that features plenty of crushed and bleeding bodies to illustrate “the worst that could happen.”
Gov. Susana Martinez announced the state’s annual “100 Days and Nights of Summer” on Friday, emphasizing the carnage that results from drunken driving, distracted driving and failure to buckle seat belts.
To drive home the point, Martinez made the announcement outside Presbyterian Hospital’s emergency department in Albuquerque.
“I’ll tell you the worst that could happen,” she said. “If you drink and drive, you can end up here, right here in this hospital. Or you can kill someone who is absolutely innocent and sober on the roadway.”
As of Friday, a total of 108 people had been killed on New Mexico’s roadways this year, down from 146 at this time last year.
Drunken driving crashes claimed 46 lives, down from 59 last year.
This year’s slogan: “If you drink and drive, you will pay a price.”
The annual crackdown, funded by $500,000 in federal and state money, pays law enforcement agencies statewide to perform extra patrols and erect DWI checkpoints through Sept. 30. It also pays for an advertising campaign.
Martinez unveiled a few of the six 30-second TV spots produced for the campaign, which show explicit images of death and injury to discourage dangerous driving behavior.
Martinez said the ad campaign “sends a strong message to New Mexicans: drinking and driving is deadly.”
Each ad begins with the driver tempting fate by saying, “what’s the worst that could happen?”
One ad, intended to discourage texting and driving, shows what appears to be a body crushed against a windshield as a couple inside the car react in horror.
Another shows a car full of young women severely injured after they fail to buckle their seat belts.
Richard Kuhn, owner and creative director of RK Venture, which produced the ads, said the graphic images are intended to deliver a message to audiences desensitized to blood and gore by popular programs such as “The Walking Dead.”
“If this is what it takes to get the message across, I’d say it’s worth it,” state Department of Transportation Secretary Tom Church said after the event.