"Tie one on for safety"
UTHSC's Southwest Texas Addiction & Research Technology (START) Center is dedicated to reducing the number of lives lost to alcohol and drugs — including drug-related fatalities on the nation's roadways. More than 16,000 people died last year nationwide in accidents involving impaired drivers.
December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month. During this month, START Center staff members have distributed red ribbons and brochures on behalf of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. The theme is "Tie one on for safety." The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation sponsor this eventful month.
Dr. Francisco G. Cigarroa, president, joins START Center Director Dr. Bankole A. Johnson and the Health Science Center community in spreading the word, especially at the holidays.
"Our aim at the START Center is to increase the frequency and reach of our lifesaving messages throughout the San Antonio area during the holiday season," Dr. Johnson said. The ribbons were distributed to several campus departments and to youngsters at Mary Burns Michael Elementary School.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that impaired driving-related deaths increased from 15,786 in 1999 to 16,653 in 2000.
"The mission of the START Center and the Impaired Driving Division of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is to develop partnerships in order to save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce traffic-related health care and economic costs resulting from impaired driving from alcohol and other drugs," Dr. Johnson said.