ALBANY, N.Y. -- Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been kicking off the Red Ribbon campaign for years, and on Friday morning the organization teamed up with the Thruway Authority to hand out red ribbons at various locations throughout the state.
Officials say the Red Ribbon campaign is the longest running and most visible public awareness project. MADD hopes this campaign will encourage people to drive sober and safe.
But drinking and driving is still a problem that has taken too many lives across the country. In 2012, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles, there were more than 8,600 alcohol-related crashes in New York State reported by police. This resulted in more than 350 deaths and more than 6,300 injuries.
Red ribbons will be handed out to motorists for three days at several Thruway exit booths, spanning from exit 15 Woodbury to exit 55 Lackawanna, to ensure everyone gets the message this New Year, don't drink and drive.
Michele Ware of Waterford, who attended Friday's press conference, has been affected by drunk driving four times.
"The first one involved my cousin. My cousin died," explained Ware. "The second one was a classmate. He his wife and three children. A drunk driver coming in the other direction hit them and killed all five of them. The third incident was the one from Long Island, Katie, who was killed in the limousine. The last incident was just last year, my mother my two year old granddaughter my son and 17 year old nephew... and a drunk driver, repeat offender, crossed the line and broad sided them. Luckily they all survived."
And on a national scale, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says alcohol-impaired driving deaths increased nationwide by 4.6 percent in 2012, accounting for 31 percent of overall fatalities.
Just this week the NYS Police have been cracking down on drunk drivers during the holiday travel.
Ribbons can be found at Thruway exits:
Ribbons will also be available at the Thruway's Travel Plazas. Everyone is asked to display the ribbon on their vehicles.