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New anti-DWI campaign focuses on the horrors of jail

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In anticipation of the sometimes alcohol-tinged revelry on Cinco de Mayo, Gov. Susana Martinez and the state Department of Transportation on Thursday released a documentary-style, anti-DWI TV ad aimed at people who don’t have any experience with jail and its dehumanizing reality.

The ad follows a white male in his 30s as he is pulled over, tested, arrested, booked into and ultimately released from the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center. The ad is punctuated with the sounds of slamming jail cell doors and dramatic gongs as the man, an actor, is interviewed about how shaming and expensive the experience was for him.

“You don’t feel like a real person any more,” the actor tells the camera as he recalls trying to navigate the jeering, menacing jail inmates to his cell, where he is met by a scowling inmate with neck and face tattoos.

“I don’t know what my best bet is for not getting hurt,” by the inmates and cellmate, he tells the interviewer.

Ultimately, he is released on his own recognizance, which means he likely had no criminal history.

Martinez and State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said Thursday the ad targets those without criminal justice system experience and those without a history of DWI arrests.

The two agreed that people without previous criminal justice experience don’t really know what it is like in jail, and so they hope the segment persuades them not to drink and drive.

“Often times, people think they have a few drinks and they are OK, but driving buzzed is just as bad,” she told a crowd, which included DOT employees, the film maker crew, the latest class of State Police cadets and media at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

Of those convicted for DWI statewide in 2014, 39 percent were first-timers, according to the 2014 New Mexico DWI Report. About two-thirds of drivers in fatal DWI-related crashes have never been arrested for DWI, said Linda Atkinson, executive director of the DWI Resource Center.

The 12-minute video will be available for anti-DWI presentations and driver’s education classes. And portions of it have been made into individual commercials for television and social media.

The production cost was $398,000 and television spots cost $125,000, mostly funded by federal grants to the state’s DOT.

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