Letters to the Editor

Feedback: Scary facts about driving

Thank you for your, “Fatal wrecks increase at alarming rate” article in April 12 issue. We hear of far too many deaths caused by driving under the influence of alcohol and/or other drugs.

I wanted to add to your coverage a countywide organization based right here in Oak Harbor which, for the last several years, has dedicated itself to the reduction of impaired driving. That is IDIPIC (Impaired Driving Impact Panel of Island County).

IDIPIC strives toward its mission two ways: Correction via impact panels (creative sentencing) for those convicted of impaired driving and underage drinking, and prevention via educational awareness programs on underage drinking and impaired driving to youth and adults.

Recently IDIPIC celebrated its fifth year of prevention and corrective efforts, and its growth would not have been possible without its many supporters, such as Island Thrift and the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. It is a 501 non-profit.

Here are some frightening facts to remember:

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of unintentional injury death here to persons 65 and younger. (2003 Health of Island County report).

According to Gallup surveys, driving under the influence is our number one highway safety problem. (State Farm.)

In 2004, 44 percent of Washington motor vehicle fatalities were due to DUI, an increase from 2003. (2004 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report.)

You have a three in 10 chance of being in a DUI crash in your lifetime. (NHTSA.)

If you drive, you’re already victimized by DUI. (Higher insurance costs to subsidize DUI crash claims.)

19.3 percent of Oak Harbor eighth graders reported alcohol use in the last 30 days 2004. (Washington State Healthy Youth Survey.)   

Everyone, please be aware, and take care.

Vicky Pitt

President, IDIPIC

Mother of Chrissy Priest, drunk driving victim, 1995

Langley

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