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IDOT Teams Up with "Walking Dead" Star to Drive Down Fatalities in Illinois

Press Release - Thursday, August 21, 2014

CHICAGO – Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) officials joined “The Walking Dead” Star Michael Rooker and representatives from Arthur Agency, a Carbondale-based advertising firm, at the Music Box Theatre today to announce the start of the Labor Day “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” crackdown, and announce the celebrity’s role in a new video series entitled “The Driving Dead.”

This statewide crackdown will feature a new and innovative advertising campaign that will utilize digital and social media in a re-doubled effort to reach those drivers who are most-often involved in drunk driving crashes, most likely to drink and drive and most likely to not buckle up. In addition, hundreds of law enforcement agencies will be out in force statewide to ensure Illinois roadways stay safe.

“We are pleased that celebrity Michael Rooker wanted to help us reach those who are risking their lives and the lives of others by not buckling up and driving drunk,” said Acting Transportation Secretary Erica Borggren. “While we have made progress, over 900 people die each year on Illinois roads; one-third of those die at the hands of an impaired driver and nearly half are not wearing a seat belt.”

For this campaign, Arthur Agency has created a video trailer that features star, Michael Rooker, who plays Merle Dixon, from the popular TV series “The Walking Dead” that will promote a website series for a mature audience entitled “The Driving Dead” and engage an online community through social media platforms. The series will include short videos, also featuring Rooker, that will be publicized on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Hulu and YouTube, and involves a cast of central characters living in a Zombie filled, post-apocalyptic world. The situations the characters find themselves in depict dangers of driving impaired and not buckling up, and there’s no shortage of entertainment value.

“Far too many people still mix alcohol, drugs and driving. Young people, in particular, often don't understand that impaired driving is a crime, and a serious one -- and they also are less likely to buckle up,” Borggren added. “These same young people ages 21-34 no longer receive news through traditional means. We’re hopeful this new series will catch their attention and give them a reason to log on or check their mobile devices. When they do, they’ll be entertained -- and most importantly, they’ll receive a life-saving message.”

“The Driving Dead” series will officially kick-off on August 25. For more information, visit www.thedrivingdeadseries.com. Leading up to and following the August 25 launch, fans can connect with “The Driving Dead” on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for up-to-date news, behind-the-scenes footage and future episodes of the series.

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