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Ending Impaired Driving in Idaho is a public health issue impacting us all.
Between 2010 and 2012 in Idaho, over 230 people were killed and 791 people seriously injured in crashes involving impaired driving. In fact, over 40 percent of all fatal crashes involved impaired drivers. (Source: “2012 Impaired Driving Statistical Report”, ITD.)
Over the past 30 years, there have been significant reductions in impaired driving. However, we have not seen significant reductions in the past five to ten years.
Traditional strategies to reduce impaired driving have focused on the driver. While these strategies are important, it is time to broaden efforts to include the entire community.
ITD is initiating an innovative approach that engages the entire community in ending impaired driving in Idaho. The project is beginning with a pilot in three Idaho communities: Blackfoot, Lewiston and Twin Falls.
Courageous Voices Create Safe Roads
The effort is called Courageous Voices and will use a variety of media including television, radio, billboard and web-based ads (see below for examples). The goal is to encourage citizens to speak up and end impaired driving. People throughout our communities can become involved.
Community leaders and policy makers need to speak up and make sure that alcohol special use permit holders take steps so there is no drinking and driving. Compliance checks and beverage server training should be standard practice. Sustained DUI enforcement coupled with best-practices in sentencing and specialty DUI courts reduce repeat offenders.
Alcohol retailers and bars can assure that servers are trained on how to identify underage drinkers and not over-serve patrons. Workplaces can make sure to plan ahead to make sure people are not drinking and driving when attending any work-related social events that involve alcohol. Schools can embrace evidence-based strategies and programs to reduce underage drinking.
Families can establish clear guidelines about never drinking and driving. Individuals can create plans about how they will get home before drinking ever starts.
Everyone can choose to speak up when they encounter someone who should not be driving. The choices are simple: individuals who have been drinking either need to stay where they are or get a ride.
And finally, if someone does choose to drink and drive, then we need to call 911. It is far better to call 911 before the crash than having to call 911 after the crash.
Strong Community Norms Support Courageous Voices
A recent survey conducted by the Center for Health and Safety Culture (www.mostofus.org) on behalf of the Idaho Transportation Department revealed strong positive norms regarding protective behaviors and attitudes about impaired driving in Idaho. The survey asked over 1,300 adults across Idaho about the attitudes, beliefs and behaviors regarding drinking and driving.
Three important norms were revealed across the state:
However, many adults misperceived these positive norms. For example, while most adults in Idaho do not drink and drive, many Idaho citizens think most other adults in their community do.
Most adults in Idaho support strong enforcement of impaired driving laws and believe establishments where alcoholic beverages are sold should have a role in preventing drinking and driving.
Most adults also believe they should try to prevent someone else from drinking and driving, although they don’t always know how or have a sense of support from those around them for taking such action.
Ways to Get Involved
Currently, this pilot project is underway in three communities: Blackfoot, Lewiston and Twin Falls. However, if you are interested in ending drinking and driving in your community, please contact your local substance abuse prevention coalition or your local law enforcement agency to see how you can get involved.