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December 21, 2000       
For Immediate Release
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
(207) 626-8400

Secretary Gwadosky Encourages Highway Safety for Holidays
Safety Advocates Gather to Kick-off Distribution of 50,000 Reminder Cards on Turnpike

Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky joined today with several organizations that share a mission of promoting safety of Maine’s roadways to kick-off the fifth annual Holiday Highway Safety Event.  The group gathered to encourage Maine citizen’s and holiday visitors to practice safe driving habits over the holiday season and throughout the New Year.  Motorists on the Maine Turnpike will be receiving reminder cards outlining the dangers of drinking and driving, as well as the warning signals of driver fatigue. The Maine Turnpike Authority has agreed to distribute the reminder cards to motorists beginning on December 21, 2000.  Over 50,000 reminder cards will be distributed during the holidays.

Secretary Gwadosky touched upon two serious highway safety issues--drowsy driving and driving while intoxicated. “I am encouraging everyone to be well rested before starting a trip and to stop when necessary during the journey to rest,” stated Secretary Gwadosky.  “When you are tired, the best way to combat drowsiness is to rest.  And of course,” Secretary Gwadosky continued, “if you have been drinking, do not drive.  Arrange for a designated driver or cab before you go out to celebrate the holidays.  It’s the best gift you can give yourself, your family and those traveling Maine’s roadways.”

“While everyone gathered here today promotes highway safety everyday, the holidays provide an opportunity to remind people of the importance of highway safety throughout the New Year,” said Secretary Gwadosky.   “We hope that everyone will make a New Year’s commitment to highway safety.”

Joining Secretary Gwadosky at the Kickoff were members from the following organizations:

 Maine Turnpike Authority        Mothers Against Drunk Driving
 Maine State Police                  Maine Transportation Safety Coalition
 Maine Chiefs of Police             Parents Against Tired Truckers
 Maine Sheriff’s Association
The Maine Turnpike Authority and HMSHost have provided for an additional benefit to motorist.   The reminder card may be redeemed for one cup of coffee at any Maine Turnpike rest area on December 24, 25, or 31, 2000 or January 1, 2001 compliments of HMSHost and the Maine Turnpike Authority.  In addition, the Maine Turnpike Authority will be using its message boards along the turnpike to provide similar safety information.

Secretary of State Gwadosky is the chief Driver Licensing official in the state and oversees driver licensing and education, as well as vehicle registrations.  Gwadosky’s remarks were delivered at the kickoff of the fifth annual Holiday OUI Awareness Event.  Gwadosky gathered with other safety advocates at Exit 14 A of the Maine Turnpike as turnpike workers began passing out the holiday reminders.