HERO Campaign safe summer driving efforts kick off on Atlantic City Boardwalk

ATLANTIC CITY — Casino bars and restaurants handed out non-alcoholic “mocktails” on the city’s Boardwalk Tuesday as part of the HERO Campaign’s effort to raise raise awareness and and promote designated driving ahead of the July 4 weekend.

The annual HEROtini Challenge is a summer-long campaign that promotes safe driving.

The John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers hosts the event to raise awareness for the prevention of drunk and impaired driving tragedies.

Members of the public were served samples of the non-alcoholic drinks and invited to pick their favorite by donating and voting at www.herotini.org.

Patrol cars from five police departments, wrapped in images of the HERO Campaign and carrying the message “Be a HERO. Be a Designated Driver” we parked around Boardwalk pavilion in front of the Tropicana Atlantic City Casino Tuesday afternoon.

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The HERO Campaign was founded in memory of Navy Ensign John Elliott of Egg Harbor Township, who was killed in a collision with a drunken driver on July 22, 2000 shortly after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy.

Bill and Muriel Elliot, John’s parents, founded the organization as a way to prevent other tragedies from happening to families.

The HERO Campaign encourages the use of designated drivers through partnerships with police, law enforcement, schools, bars and restaurants.

More than 150,000 motorists of all ages have taken the campaign’s online HERO Pledge to never drink and drive and to be designated drivers.

This year, the crusade for safer driving has taken on even more meaning following a surge in fatal accidents in the first half of 2024.

While traffic-related fatalities have risen by 17% in New Jersey, Atlantic County, with 28 deaths so far this year, has seen a 75% increase, making it the second most dangerous county in the state for driving deaths.

On hand Tuesday were staff from Borgata, Caesars, Docks Oyster House, Harrah’s, Ocean Casino, Resorts and the Tropicana as well as police officers and patrol cars from Atlantic City, Margate, Egg Harbor Township, Longport and Cape May.

For more information about the HEROtini Challenge go to herocampaign.org.