THE Quinsippi Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving kicked off its annual Project Red Ribbon campaign this week to remind motorists of the potentially fatal consequences of drinking and driving.
The campaign provides red ribbons that can be attached to cars to serve as a visual reminder during the holiday season and beyond to not get behind the wheel after drinking.
Warnings about the dangers of drunken driving are everywhere, yet those messages often go unheeded. Frighten statistics show the average American has a 30 percent chance of being killed or injured by an impaired driver during his or her lifetime.
While the most recent National Highway Traffic Safety administration statistics show that drunk-driving fatalities have fallen by about a third nationally in the last three decades, 10,497 people still died in drunk-driving crashes in 2016.
To put that into perspective, that's nearly 29 people each day or one person every 50 minutes across the United States.
Meanwhile, the Illinois Department of Transportation reports that about 25 percent of the 1,055 fatalities on the state's roads in 2016 involved a drunk or impaired driver.
The sobering fact is that all could have been prevented, and the enduring physical and emotional pain avoided.
Closer to home, the Quincy Police Department reports officers have made 85 arrests on charges of driving under the influence so far this year, just five fewer than during all of 2016.
Clearly, the steps we all should take are simple, but bear repeating:
º If you will be drinking, plan on not driving. Plan your safe ride home before you start the party. Designate a sober driver ahead of time.
º If you drink, do not drive for any reason. Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.
º If someone you know has been drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel. Take their keys and help them arrange a sober ride home.
º If you see an impaired driver on the road, contact local law enforcement. Your actions could help save someone's life.
Red ribbons are available in Quincy at City Hall and at local banks and financial institutions. In addition, area junior high school students will receive ribbons next week to take home.
The message this holiday season and throughout the year is simple: Don't drink and drive.