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Diageo Applauds Maryland Governor and General Assembly for Milestone Reduction in Drunk Driving Fatalities

ANNAPOLIS, Md., Dec. 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Diageo, the world's leading spirits, wine and beer company and industry leader in promoting responsible drinking, applauds Governor Martin O'Malley and the Maryland General Assembly for Maryland's progress in combating drunken driving. The measures they have taken in recent years contributed to a commendable 12.5 percent decrease in drunken driving fatalities this past year, surpassing the national decrease of seven percent. Maryland's decline from 178 deaths in 2007 to 152 in 2008 has secured Maryland a spot among the 10 states with the lowest rate of alcohol-related driving fatalities.

In 2007, the Governor established The Task Force to Combat Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and Alcohol to review Maryland's efforts to combat drunk driving and compare them with nationally recognized best practices. The group used its findings to recommend several legislative initiatives aimed at all impaired drivers, with a focus on those responsible for the most fatalities: repeat offenders, underage drinkers, and drivers with blood alcohol levels of .15 percent or higher. The Task Force also considered how to implement national best practices in Maryland; ways to keep the public focused on the dangers of drunk and drugged driving; and strategies to better coordinate State and local management, funding, and resources.

"Maryland is making significant progress in the fight against drunk driving and we applaud Governor O'Malley and the Maryland General Assembly for their efforts," said Dwayne Kratt, Senior Director of State Government Relations, Diageo North America. "Diageo has a zero tolerance policy toward drunk driving. With the passage of the legislation contained in the Governor's Taskforce, we hope to see continued success in Maryland in combating alcohol-impaired driving."

Governor O'Malley's most recent efforts include introducing legislation to implement recommendations made by the Task Force to Combat Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and Alcohol that strengthen Maryland's drunken driving laws. These include one-year driver's license suspensions for persons convicted twice of Maryland's impaired driving statutes, a bill outlawing the consumption of alcohol by those under 21, and criminalizing the furnishing of alcohol to minors. Additional recommendations provided by the Task Force seek to improve enforcement, intervention and treatment, education and the courts. Diageo applauds the General Assembly for passing the Governor's legislation, and the Governor for introducing it and signing it into law. It will contribute to Maryland's success in future years in combating drunken driving.

Diageo has a strong record of supporting a myriad local and federal initiatives aimed at preventing underage drinking. Since 2003, Diageo has helped introduce legislation that would revoke the driver's license of any adult who knowingly furnishes alcohol to a person under the legal drinking age in more than 20 states. Diageo supports driver's license revocation legislation as part of its leadership in promoting responsible drinking and the company's commitment to preventing underage access to alcohol.

Diageo is a founding member and major supporter of The Century Council, an organization funded by some of the country's leading distillers committed to developing programs to combat drunk driving and underage drinking. These programs include 'Combating Drunk Driving Judicial Education,' 'We Don't Serve Teens' and 'Girl Talk.' The Century Council also works with a broad array of education and prevention professionals on alcohol issues.

About Diageo

Diageo (Dee-AH-Gee-O) is the world's leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, wines and beer categories. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Smirnoff, J&B, Baileys, Cuervo, Tanqueray, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal, Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards wines.

Diageo is a global company, trading in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE).

For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at For our global resource that promotes responsible drinking through the sharing of best practice tools, information and initiatives, visit

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