SANTA FE ― The New Mexico Department of Transportation announced that for the first time in New Mexico, electronic highway signs will display strategic messages aimed at deterring drunk driving.
The signs are traditionally used to provide motorists with traffic conditions and weather updates. Signs around the state will now display the new anti-DWI messages, as well.
“Too often we hear about crashes that are all too avoidable, if only an individual had not made the terrible decision to drink and drive,” NMDOT Secretary Tom Church said. “We’ve seen how effective electronic signage can be for a variety of traffic purposes. Now we’re going to harness that same messaging power to raise awareness of the danger and consequences of drunk driving.”
The anti-DWI messages started today and will continue through next year.
Messages warn motorists of the consequences of drinking and driving and display statewide DWI crash statistics, including the number of alcohol-related crashes and fatalities statewide.
Some examples of these creative messages include, “Arrive Alive Don’t Drink & Drive,” “Drive Drunk Meet a Cop,” and “Drive Hammered Get Nailed.” The signs also encourage motorists to report drunk drivers by dialing 911 or #DWI.
This announcement comes on the heels of Gov. Susana Martinez announcing a series of new executive proposals to end DWI.
The initiatives include inundating the state’s deadliest highways with more police officers and innovative patrol strategies to specifically target drunk drivers and establishments that over-serve; a bench warrant roundup program that tasks law enforcement to find and arrest a high-risk group of DWI offenders who refuse to take responsibility for their actions and are more likely to drink and drive again; and, a ramp-up of efforts to locate and capture repeat DWI offenders – including those who have killed or seriously injured families on the road – and have now skipped out on parole or probation and are hiding from the law.
Martinez also announced the launch of a program to monitor the outcome of DWI cases in certain counties in New Mexico, placing citizens in courtrooms during DWI cases in an effort to shine a light on how the judicial system is handling them.
In addition, Martinez announced a series of legislative proposals to enact tougher DWI penalties.
The proposals include increasing jail or prison time for certain repeat DWI offenders; expanding habitual offender laws to include felony DWI offenses; and cracking down on those who recklessly toss their keys to an offender with a suspended or revoked license due to DWI.