The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility is at the 2012 Lifesavers Conference in Orlando, Florida, which is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year. Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility staff attended the Opening Plenary which included video remarks from U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Honorable Deborah Hersman, and Jan Withers, National President of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

Chairman Hersman carried a "where there is a will, there is a way" theme throughout her remarks, and she followed through on the theme from last month’s Impaired Driving Forum which was that all stakeholders must not only be at the same table, but must be willing to engage and work together.

Making a finer point, Chairman Hersman cited commercial aviation as an example. She said everyone came to the table to reduce airline fatalities by 80 percent, and that technology, surprisingly, turned out to be the most powerful tool in their toolbox. Chairman Hersman stated, "We identified technologies that all but solved the problem. It wasn't training or education. It was technology. Since that technology was mandated across the commercial fleet, the problem has all but disappeared."

Summarizing the challenges for transportation professionals, or “Lifesavers,” Chairman Hersman said, "We have the technology. We have the way. But do we have the will to take on the challenge and work together? True change will require changing our societal norms and foregoing our own interests in favor of the greater good."

Ms. Withers shared her gut-wrenching story of how she lost her daughter in a horribly tragic drunk driving crash. She’s turned her loss into a passion and stated, with regard to MADD’s agenda, “We are interested in only one result: Lives saved. We need a comprehensive approach.” And went on to say that we “must reject doing things that feel good but do no good. "

Lastly she said, “We need everyone to work together on proven solutions if we are to get to that day with no more deaths and crashes.”

An impressive opening to Lifesavers 2012, we look forward to learning more throughout the next 3 days. Follow us on Twitter with the hashtag: #TCClifesavers.