LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Support for anti-DUI program appreciated

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Nearly 22 years ago, through a grant from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, a community task force was formed to bring traffic safety awareness and education programs to Walla Walla County with a goal of reducing the number of serious injury and fatality collisions.

The Walla Walla County Traffic Safety Task Force continues to this day. Over the past 22 years a number of programs have been developed by Task Force members. One of these is "Every 15 Minutes," a DUI prevention program targeting high school students. This event could not come together without the combined effort of many generous agencies, businesses and volunteers.

The most recent, at Walla Walla Valley Academy, was made possible by the efforts of the College Place Police Department, Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office, Walla Walla Police Department, Walla Walla City Fire Department, College Place Fire Department, College Place Municipal Court and Walla Walla County EMS and area businesses that contribute directly or supply much needed goods and services.

Also contributing are those community volunteers who have seen the results of this program and are willing to donate their time by cooking meals, transporting students, chaperoning the overnight event and more. Other community volunteers include individuals who have been directly impacted by a drunken-driving collision and are willing to share their story and tears with others.

All of these efforts are coordinated by the Walla Walla County Traffic Safety Task Force to produce an impacting program that will impart the important message, do not drink and drive or get in a car with someone who has been drinking.

he "Every 15 Minutes" program was originally developed by the Spokane Police Department when "every 15 minutes" someone in our nation was killed in an alcohol-related collision. As a result of our program and others, fatalities have decreased to one every 48 minutes.

However, DUI fatalities are 100 percent preventable so not drinking and driving is still an important message to keep in the forefront. To the family of a DUI victim, does it really matter whether the statistic is every 15 minutes or every 48 minutes?

We appreciate the Union-Bulletin for covering our recent program and giving me this opportunity to acknowledge the many agencies, businesses and volunteers who support this program and the Walla Walla County Traffic Safety Task Force.

Nancy McClenny-Walters,

Coordinator,

Walla Walla County Traffic Safety Task Force

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