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Editorial

Around our Town...To your health - You Drink & Drive. You Lose.


12/01/2004 - Around our Town...To your health

You Drink & Drive. You Lose.

On November 22, 2004, Dr. John Barrasso welcomed community leaders, injury prevention groups, law enforcement, victims of drunk driving crashes and emergency personnel to a press conference to kick off the 6th annual You Drink & Drive. You Lose. holiday campaign.

Impaired driving is one of the most often committed crimes, randomly killing someone in America every 30 minutes. It is a national problem, but is also a Wyoming problem. In 2002, 35.1% of all motor vehicle fatalities in our state were alcohol related. In 2003, that percentage was 30.5%. In an effort to fight the war against drunk driving, the campaign emphasizes education, awareness and enforcement of drunk driving laws.

Since 1999, the goal of the You Drink & Drive. You Lose. campaign has remained a simple one, "zero fatalities in our community due to impaired driving during the holiday season." In the last five years, our community has suffered only one holiday fatality due to a drunk driver. Many would view that as a successful history, however, campaign members feel it is one fatality too many.

This year's kick-off was also a moving one as Chris Simmons spoke about how his 2000 Aggravated Vehicular Homicide conviction has changed his life. Simmons, while wiping away tears, emphasized that for many the holidays are not a time of joy, but a time of grief and sorrow because of loved ones lost to drunk driving. His wish for this holiday season is that no one buys into the lie that injuring or killing someone while driving impaired won't happen to him or her. Mr. Simmons is serving the last part of his sentence at CAC in Casper.

During the press conference, Lt. Colonel Sam Powell from the Wyoming Highway Patrol expressed his appreciation for law enforcement officers that helped remove drunk drivers from roads and highways. He also emphasized that law enforcement will be vigilant in removing impaired drivers from the roadways and warned that if caught you will be spending time in jail.

As one of the original campaign sponsors, SAFE KIDS of Central Wyoming has taken an active role in each of the previous campaigns and will be active once again in the 2004 activities. SAFE KIDS Coordinator Ginny Garner explains why SAFE KIDS is involved, "Contrary to popular belief, the majority of children who die in alcohol-related crashes are killed by an impaired driver who is transporting them, not a drunk driver who crashes into them." For SAFE KIDS of Central Wyoming, it is an issue of protecting our children. Studies show that the more alcohol the driver consumes, the less likely the child is to be buckled up.

Be a part of a life-saving campaign. If you plan to drink, designate a driver, call a cab, or stay where you are and call for a ride home. And if you find yourself getting ready to get behind the wheel after drinking or getting into a car with a driver who is impaired, please let the bar or establishment know that you need a ride home and you may be eligible for a cab voucher program. Because when You Drink & Drive. You Lose.

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