Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year - Drive Safely!

Happy New Year! Please drive safely - not only this evening, but year-round.

I am a board member of the Missoula County DUI Task Force and chair of its Public Information & Education Committee. Each year at this time, we host a 3-hour live remote at a local bar, lounge, or tavern that hasn't received any violations from law enforcement. Our purpose is to prevent impaired driving, specifically drunk driving. Property damage, injuries, and fatalities resulting from drunk driving can be prevented. Our goal is to inform the public about just how to prevent drunk driving tragedies.

FYI, the city of Missoula has two programs that help impaired drivers get home safely: Home Free Missoula - participating bars provide free cab rides to patrons who shouldn't drive - and Designated Driver Missoula - which costs about $10-15 but their driver gets you home in your car when you shouldn't drive. There are also MANY folks, such as myself, who'd be more than happy to crawl into my car in my jammies to come retrieve your imparied self and drive you home rather than have you risk yourself and others by driving drunk.

I met many wonderful people at the live remote yesterday and reconnected with others I see each year. The event was held at the Brooks & Brown Lounge at the Holiday Inn/Downtown -- and I met another writer! Members of law enforcement and the county attorney's office were not only wonderfully supportive by airing their stories and advice on radio during the live remote, they volunteered themselves as writing resources. Many thanks to the following participants: Missoula County Sheriff's Department, Missoula City Police, Montana Highway Patrol, Missoula County Attorney's Office, St. Patrick Hospital, Turning Point, Missoula Forum for Children and Youth, Kinzie Kinziel/Farmers Insurance, and Missoula Underage Substance Abuse Program. Special thanks to Gapwest Broadcasting - and Peter Christian - for making all of us so comfortable spreading our messages via live radio.

Happy Writing, Happy New Year!

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