Letter: Thank you from the Impaired Driving Impact Panel of Island County

Editor,

Once again, Island Thrift has fulfilled the Impaired Driving Impact Panel of Island County (IDIPIC) grant request for $5,000 (matching grant.) This is no small amount when you consider how many organizations Island Thrift helps. When you donate and shop at Island Thrift, you are helping support programs and services that make our community better. Island Thrift generously helps organizations that we are all familiar with: The Boys and Girls Clubs of Oak Harbor and Coupeville, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Oak Harbor Pigfest, Oak Harbor Music Festival, Oak Harbor Senior Activity Center, Saratoga Orchestra, PBY Naval Air Museum, and many more. We salute Island Thrift, they are a community agency that consistently gives back to the people on Whidbey Island.

As we enter the busy holiday period, Halloween through the New Year, IDIPIC wants to remind everyone to drive sober on our roads. A month ago, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released fatal traffic crash data for 2017. Nation-wide 37,133 people lost their lives in 2017. In 2016, 37,461 lives were lost on U.S. roads. A decrease.

However, Washington State had a total of 565 fatalities in 2017 versus 536 deaths in 2016. Of the 565 deaths in 2017, 178 were alcohol impaired versus 160 alcohol impaired in 2016. Our numbers are up. NHTSA has abundant and sobering information at this link: https://www.nhtsa.gov/

Our state has legalized marijuana. Impaired driving can involve not only alcohol, but combinations of marijuana, prescription drugs, illegal drugs, and alcohol. We can and must do better. How can you help prevent impaired driving? Plan ahead, have a conversation with your family and friends about the consequences of driving impaired. One poor choice can lead to a lifetime of pain and suffering. Talking about impaired driving, urging your friends and family to make good choices, all of this will remind you to be responsible for yourself and others. For additional information about IDIPIC, please visit our website (http://idipic.org/ and the link to our Facebook site).

On behalf of all of our volunteers, speakers, supporters, and “Partners in Prevention” (donors), I wish you a safe, joyous, and satisfying holiday season.

Mike Diamanti IDIPIC Director

Oak Harbor

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