Do Your Part: Holiday Impaired Driving Campaign Kicks Off In Natrona County
Graphic images rolled across the screen. Crashes. Ambulances and emergency rooms. Flying bodies and grieving mothers. And there was dead silence in the room as the devastation left behind by drunk drivers started this year's holiday impaired driving campaign in Natrona County, asking everyone to "Do Their Part."
Members of a number of county agencies and organizations joined Casper College Criminal Justice and Fire science students Monday to kick off the annual effort.
County Commissioner Steve Schlager says with programs such as Safe Ride in place, there's no reason a person who's been drinking can't get a ride home.
"It's purely selfish, as far as I'm concerned, if they do drink and drive," he says. "They don't want to leave their car at the bar for whatever reason, it's just foolish in my mind if they don't take advantage of those free rides."
Art Washut, who teaches Criminal Justice at the college, says if people have been drinking, they're going to be impaired. "It falls in the rest of us who are not impaired to do our part. So something as simple as making sure that guests at your party are not over-served, that there's someone to take them home after the party if they need someone to take them home, calling a taxi if necessary, using Tipsy Taxi if you work in a liquor establishment as a bartender or cocktail staff, monitor how much people are having, use Tipsy Taxi which we now call Safe Ride, so there's something for everybody."
Alcohol-related crashes, injuries, and deaths are significantly higher during the Holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. The "Do Your Part This Holiday Season" campaign urges residents not to drink and drive, to report drunk drivers, and to do whatever you can to keep impaired drivers off the roads.
If you're hesitant to approach your friends about their ability to drive because you're afraid of making them angry, Washut says, think about the alternative.
"Would you rather go to their funeral?" he asks. "There is a certain amount of guilt, you don't want to call the police on your friend or you don't want to get into an argument with someone, but the alternative, the risk is so high that you just can't afford not to. If you send your friends away from the party impaired, you don't know if you're ever going to see them again."
*Warning: Video contains graphic content.*