We’ve all heard the slogan “Don’t Drink and Drive.”
Now, a local group is pushing a new slogan aimed at preventing drunken driving: “Don’t Drive Then Drink.”
The initiative, from the Kenosha County Substance Abuse Coalition, Leadership Kenosha and the Hope Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs, wants people to pledge that they will not drive before going out for a night on the town.
Instead, it encourages the use of taxis, public transportation and ride-sharing services.
The reasoning behind the campaign is that people can make more lucid and informed decision before they starting imbibing rather than during or after.
“Alcohol and other drugs turn off the good-reasoning part of our brains, so make the decision first: Don’t Drive Then Drink!” states the pledge on the website www.saveliveskenosha.org, where people can sign the pledge.
The new campaign got a boost last week when local philanthropists Kathy and Joseph Madrigrano Jr. donated $2,500 to boost the initiative and its $10,000 matching campaign.
“Kathy and I are paying it forward for those who need our help now,”
Joseph Madrigrano said. “Programs like this save lives.”
In addition to the online pledge, the campaign is using social media, posters and other means to get the word out.
Drunken driving continues to plague Wisconsin as well as the rest of the nation.
Last month, a suspected drunken driver rammed into the back of a vehicle carrying members of Kenosha’s Rizzo family, killing three and seriously injuring a fourth person.
The three Rizzos killed in the crash had dedicated their lives to helping people: Michael Rizzo was a family practitioner; his brother Vincent was a dentist and Vincent’s wife Mary was a registered nurse.
It’s impossible to say whether or not the new “Don’t Drive Then Drink” campaign would have prevented this tragedy, and it would be way too cynical to dismiss the effort out of hand by saying nothing will stop people from driving drunk.
If just one person sees a poster or something online before going out, puts the keys down and calls a cab, then it is certainly worthwhile.
“Even if we can change one person’s thought process, it will be beneficial and impactful,” said Sabrina Morgan of Leadership Kenosha in March. “We know we’re not going to reach everyone. ... There’s a big problem in the state with driving while impaired, but we want people to think.”
We agree. We encourage everyone to go to www.saveliveskenosha.org and sign the pledge, and donate money to the cause if you can.