Commissioners declare against drunken driving


"Take a Stand! Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk" was the message from the Carroll County commissioners when they joined in proclaiming the month of December as National Drunk and Drugged Driving (3D) Prevention Month, during a ceremony at the county office building Tuesday.

Commissioner Donald Dell presented the proclamation to Shirley Hampt, past president of the Carroll County Chapter of MADD.

The document stated that nearly 17,500 motorists and pedestrians, impaired by alcohol and other drugs, are killed on the nation's highways annually. Fifteen people have died in traffic fatalities in Carroll County this year. Six of those crashes involved alcohol, according to state police.

Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of death for children, adolescents and young adults in the United States, and nearly half of all traffic fatalities are alcohol related, he said.

Health care resulting from motor vehicles injuries costs American society more than $14 billion a year, according to the document. Each serious injury accident averages $35,000 in health care costs, the commissioner said.

Members of C.R.A.S.H. Coalition (Carroll Resources to Advance Safer Highways) have joined a group of national organizations, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in kicking off 3D month.

The coalition said 3D month and other strategies, such as Red-Out Day, are credited with saving lives and reducing both injury and property damage.

Christine Miller, injury prevention coordinator for C.R.A.S.H. Coalition, said Red-Out Day, patterned after the highly successful Smoke-Out Day, is scheduled for Dec. 1 and will be observed in Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

Residents of these six states are encouraged to wear red articles of clothing during December as part of the campaign. Tying in with red ribbon campaigns from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Red-Out Day is designed to focus public attention on safe and sober driving during the heavy traffic holiday season.

To focus attention on Red-Out Day, crashed cars will be displayed at the Westminster barracks of the state police, Western Maryland College and Carroll Community College, Ms. Miller said.

Additional displays will be set up at the Pennsylvania Dutch Farmers Market tomorrow. State police will conduct at least one sobriety checkpoint during the month and MADD will again conduct its Red Ribbon Campaign asking motorists to display red ribbons on their vehicles.

The significance of the red color is twofold, according to Ms. Miller. The first is to stop red ambulance and police cruiser lights from flashing in response to motor vehicles crashes caused by alcohol and/or drug-impaired drivers and to stop the flow of blood from victims of car crashes involving impaired drivers.

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