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The 1992 National City Challenge to Stop Drunk Driving.

Alcohol-related traffic fatalities have declined 21 percent, from 25,165 in 1982 to 19,900 in 1991. This impressive drop in fatalities is due, in large part, to innovative and comprehensive programs instituted by cities across the nation. The National City Challenge to Stop Drunk Driving Awards annually honors those cities that produce the most effective drunk driving prevention programs in the nation. The Challenge is sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and The Century Council, a non-profit organization founded by a group of concerned distillers, brewers and vintners dedicated to reducing drunk driving and underage drinking problems.

In all, six cities and two mayors are honored for programs institutionalized in their communities. The cities and mayors compete in two population categories, those cities with over 100,000 population, and under 100,000 population. The four awards being competed for include: the Grand Prize Winner for over-all best program; the Mayor's Medal for Leadership, which goes to the two mayors (large and small cities) who are most influential in leading drunk driving prevention efforts; the Community Partnership Award; and the Inspiration Award.

Grand Prize Award

The Grand Prize Awards for 1992 went to the cities of Allentown, Pennsylvania, (over 100,000) and Lafayette, Louisiana, (under 100,000). These cities were awarded the grand prize for their overall comprehensive and effective programs to reduce drunk driving in their communities and each received a trophy and $20,000 cash to use to further their drunk driving prevention efforts. The remaining winners, also producing measurable progress in decreasing alcohol-related crashes, received medals.

The two cities used different, yet effective, approaches to combat drunk driving in their communities. Allentown's Mayor Joseph S. Daddona helped organize a task force of community leaders, educators, business people, law enforcement officials, medical professionals, licensed beverage retailers, treatment professionals and concerned citizens to attack the problem of drunk driving.

On the other hand, Lafayette utilized the previously established Alcohol Traffic Action Campaign (ATAC), a division of the Lafayette Police Department in existence since 1983, to step-up the effort against drunk driving. ATAC is a comprehensive effort incorporating many countermeasures, including improved enforcement and prosecution, sentence coordination and public information.

Community Partnership Award

Madison, Wisconsin and Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico were awarded the Community Partnership Awards for cities over and under 100,000 population, respectively. These cities were honored for their program's broad base of community support, including self- sufficient financing, participation by private and public sector organizations, and volunteer support.

In 1987, the Madison community formed a county-wide task force, known as DRIVING FORCE, made up of Circuit Court judges, city and county prosecutors, the county tavern league, MADD, law enforcement agencies, school districts, business leaders, treatment professionals and elected officials. Some of DRIVING FORCE's activities included providing training for judges in drunk driving issues and supporting training by other organizations, such as SADD. In all, DRIVING FORCE helped reduce alcohol-related crashes in Dane County at a rate that was twice the state average during the period 1987 through 1990.

Cabo Rojo initiated a grass roots community effort to fight drunk driving. Their year-round campaign was designed to keep traffic safety a high priority among residents and vacationers, and utilized community organizations, including the Knights of Columbus and Lions Club, to help pay for activities and provide volunteers. Through radio and television campaigns, road blocks, murals, essay contests, seminars, billboards, and other distributed materials educating consumers about the effects of alcohol abuse and misuse, Cabo Rojo reached and educated a major portion of the public to make the streets safer.

Inspiration Award

This award was issued to the cities of Santa Rosa, California (over 100,000), and Medford, Massachusetts (under 100,000). The Inspiration Award recognizes cities that have developed innovative tactics to reduce drunk driving which other cities might adopt. Santa Rosa established a county-wide coalition which included law enforcement agencies, public health and safety groups and other concerned citizens. This coalition concentrated on responsible hospitality and focused education and training on both commercial establishments and social hosts (i.e., hosts of private parties, informal gatherings, etc.). By utilizing "last drink" data collected by the police (suspected drunk drivers, when stopped by police, are asked where they consumed their last drink) the coalition designed its own intervention strategies to coordinate with existing city-based prevention, enforcement and treatment programs.

Medford Mayor Michael J. McGlynn developed a task force whose main purpose was to educate the public, especially young drivers, about the dangers of the abuse of alcohol and drinking and driving, and to pull together a community-based program targeted for the holiday season. The task force asked Medford's citizens to Make A Pledge not to drink and drive. Citizens filled out pledge cards, and for each card, a red (for adults) or white (for students) ribbon was tied to a tree in Medford square. Medford's tree was an appropriate holiday symbol that rallied citizens to become involved and not to drink and drive.

All of these city's programs fulfilled the following criteria: they were comprehensive; they were self-sufficient in funding by shifting reliance upon state and federal funding toward local and private support; they involved a cross-section of the community, including educational institutions, law enforcement, businesses, citizens, and alcohol beverage wholesalers and/or retailers; and they had the support of the city's leadership by having the mayor take an active role.

For more information about the National City Challenge to Stop Drunk Driving and/or to receive an application for the 1993 awards, contact Marla Dockery, Traffic Safety Program, U.S. Conference of Mayors, 1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20006.
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Title Annotation:Special Report: Stopping Drunk Driving
Author:Price, Erica
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Aug 17, 1992
Words:935
Previous Article:Finding funds for drunk driving initiatives.
Next Article:Senate starts work on urban aid tax bill.
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