MADD HAWAII Kicks Off Annual “Tie One On for Safety” Campaign

MADD partners with DTRIC Insurance, First Hawaiian Bank and others on campaign; event launch press conference set for Thursday, Nov. 18 in Kakaako

HONOLULU – Commemorating the 35th year of its signature “Tie One On for Safety” red ribbon campaign, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Hawaii wants to remind the community about the dangers of impaired driving this holiday session.

Founded in 1986, Tie One On for Safety (TOOFS) is MADD’s longest running public awareness project. The annual holiday campaign encourages drivers across Hawaii and our nation to display MADD red ribbons on their vehicles as a promise to plan ahead and designate a non-drinking driver.

A media-only, kick-off event is set for Thursday, November 18 from noon to 1 p.m. at Kaka’ako Park field at Ilalo Street, between Cooke Street & Ohe Street and across from the John A. Burns School of Medicine. The Honolulu police and fire departments and other first responders are scheduled to attend.

Scheduled guest speakers will include:

  • Honolulu Fire Department
  • United States Coast Guard

“For 35 years, the red ribbon has become the iconic reminder for people to think ahead before getting behind the wheel,” said MADD Hawaii founder Carol McNamee. 

December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. “Whether that means tying a red ribbon onto car antennas like we did in 1986 or placing our newer magnetic red ribbons on cars, the sentiment remains the same: If you drink, don’t drive. Always designate a non-drinking unimpaired driver, call Uber or Lyft, or use public transportation to keep our roads safe.”

“The holidays are one of the most dangerous times on our nation’s roadways, with more people traveling, and an increased number of festivities where alcohol is served, leads to a surge in drunk driving,” said Theresa Paulette, Victim Services Specialist for MADD Hawaii. “The solution is simple: Plan ahead for a non-drinking designated driver if you’re going to drink alcohol that evening.” 

Generally, there are more motor vehicle traffic crash fatalities during the holiday period than during non-holiday periods, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Also, while Americans drove less in 2020 due to the pandemic, NHTSA’s preliminary estimates show that an estimated 38,680 died in motor vehicle crashes, the largest projected number of fatalities since 2007.

So far this year, the number of traffic-related fatalities in Hawaii also continue to rise, with 76 deaths in roughly the first 10 months of this year. This is 10 more traffic fatalities than the same time last year, according to preliminary statistics from the Hawaii Department of Transportation.

“Driving while under the influence is a choice that can ruin your life or the life of someone else on the road. No one is working harder to protect us from that poor choice than MADD, and we are in full support of their efforts to stop impaired drivers,” said Hawaii Department of Transportation Deputy Director for Highways Ed Sniffen. “Please tie a red ribbon on and remember that we all have a part in making sure all roadway users make it home safely.”

The red ribbons also signify support for law enforcement officers, who will be out in force as part of the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. Other community partners have joined in to support MADD’s annual campaign, including DTRIC Insurance and First Hawaiian Bank.

“DTRIC Insurance is honored to partner with MADD Hawaii on the 35th anniversary of its Tie One On for Safety’ campaign. As an insurance company serving the Hawaii community, we have a responsibility to promote traffic safety to prevent senseless accidents and traffic fatalities,” said Takuya Mitsueda, DTRIC Insurance CEO and President. “With more people back on our highways and roadways, we encourage drivers to make good choices to keep our family, friends and colleagues safe during this time of year.”

Mitsueda said those hosting events can provide guests non-alcoholic beverage options called ‘Mocktails.’ Full recipes of Mocktail drinks are available online at

MADD’s Tie One On for Safety red ribbons are available statewide at the following locations: Napa Auto Parts, Foodland stores, Aloha Island Marts, and at the offices of the four county mayors and prosecuting attorneys.

MADD is also asking the public to take MADD Red Ribbon Challenge and post their commitment on social media to never drink and drive.  Be creative with where you Tie One On for Safety and post a photo or video of your MADD Red Ribbon on social media with #RedRibbonChallenge808. Don’t forget to tag MADD Hawaii on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Visit for more information about the challenge. 

For more information about this year’s statewide campaign, visit