By: Tekedra Mawakana
The holidays are a time to celebrate with family and friends, but they can also be a time of terrible tragedy.* Last year, in the days between Thanksgiving and the final countdown on New Year’s Eve, more than 1,100 people lost their lives to drunk drivers in the U.S. In fact, drunk driving deaths during the holiday season have risen 35% over the past five years. It’s a statistic that’s hard to bear when every drunk driving death is preventable.
Each year, as part of — Tie One On for Safety — Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) asks supporters to add a red ribbon to their cars as a way to remind people to always designate a sober driver. This year, Waymo is proud to join the cause by displaying red ribbons on our entire fleet of self-driving cars through New Years Day.
Waymo and MADD share a common mission: to make the roads safer for everyone, every day. Joining the Tie One On for Safety campaign is a symbol of our solidarity with MADD, and a symbol of our hope to be an even bigger part of the solution in the future.
For me, this issue is personal. My mom’s brother was killed by a drunk driver when he was just in his 20s. The shock of losing him so unexpectedly reverberated through our entire family, and it stays with me to this very day. Now, as a mother, nothing matters more than the safety of my family.
Our family is not alone. Every person lost to a drunk driving accident is someone’s uncle, someone’s mother or son, someone’s friend or partner. Every person killed is one less person who could help cure cancer or create the next great masterpiece ― or simply make it home for a family dinner during the holidays.
“MADD’s annual Tie One On for Safety campaign is more important than ever… We want everyone to designate a non-drinking driver to get them home safely, and we want to highlight the promise that self-driving vehicles hold for a future of No More Victims of these 100 percent preventable tragedies.
– Colleen Sheehey-Church, MADD National President
That’s one reason I was drawn to join the team at Waymo, and why I’m hopeful about the promise the future holds. We’re working on building technology that is constantly vigilant, can see up to 3 football fields away, and has more than 10 million miles of driving experience. Waymo’s self-driving technology doesn’t get distracted or tired, or drunk.
I believe that Waymo’s self-driving technology can help prevent drunk driving. And we look forward to working together with MADD to create a safer world.
* The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that drunk driving deaths rose 35% during the holidays for the past 5 years.