By Todd Cohen
RALEIGH, N.C. — Under the gaze of over 60 of their peers, two employees of DuPont Electronic Technologies took a mock sobriety test in April at the company’s research facility in Research Triangle Park.
The two employees were asked to walk along separate 10-foot lines, with one employee wearing goggles simulating the clear vision of someone who is sober, and the other wearing goggles simulating the impaired vision of someone who is drunk.
The group of DuPont employees also watched a video on drunk driving and learned about the impact of alcohol and drunk driving on workplace productivity.
DuPont is one of over 35 employers that the North Carolina office of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD, has enlisted this year in its new series of Lunch ‘n’ Learn workshops.
With 17 offices throughout the state, the Raleigh-based MADD chapter also has launched a marketing campaign on the impact of drunk driving, responsible last year for 549 deaths in North Carolina.
The state now ranks sixth in the United States in deaths from drunk driving, says Craig Lloyd, state executive director of MADD.
The marketing campaign includes multi-media programs it has presented this year at assemblies at 75 elementary, middle and high schools from Charlotte to Raleigh.
Sponsored by State Farm, Iatria Day Spas, Duke Life Flight, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program and the Wake County Department of Alcohol Beverage Control, the programs include 25 offered to schools the week before their proms.
And on June 23, MADD will stage its inaugural “Shifting Gears Road Rally,” a contest based on reality television hit “The Amazing Race.”
Starting at the State Fairgrounds, teams will follow clues to seven Triangle locations of event sponsors like BB&T and Bojangles’ where participants will be challenged to use or test a sponsor’s product or service.
At a car dealership, for example, participants might be asked to test-drive a car.
“This was designed with individuals and corporations in mind,” says Lloyd, who previously headed chambers of commerce for Hillsborough-Orange County and for Myrtle Beach. “It is helping sponsors market their locations.”
The Road Rally, which MADD plans to hold each year, aims to raise $50,000 this year and reflects the organization’s strategy of building its presence throughout the state.
Since Lloyd became state executive director a year ago, the organization has doubled the number of its individual and corporate members to 2,200 and increased its annual budget to $350,000 from $175,000, he says.
MADD on May 4 also opened a stand-alone office in Charlotte, its first outside Raleigh that is staffed by paid employees, and Lloyd says he plans in the next two years to open staffed offices in 10 other cities and to increase the annual budget to $600,000 to $700,000.
The organization also has stepped up its public-policy efforts, working with other partners to persuade lawmakers last year to overhaul the state’s laws on driving while impaired and underage drinking.
To sponsor or create a team for the Road Rally, visit www.madd.org/nc.