By MIKE DIAMANTI
Once again, Island Thrift has fulfilled the Impaired Driving Impact Panel of Island County (IDIPIC) grant request for $5,000 (matching grant.) When you donate and shop at Island Thrift, you are helping to support programs and services that make our community better. Island Thrift generously helps organizations that we are all familiar with: The Boys and Girls Clubs of Oak Harbor and Coupeville, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Oak Harbor Pigfest, Oak Harbor Music Festival, Oak Harbor Senior Activity Center, Saratoga Orchestra, PBY Naval Air Museum and more. We salute Island Thrift, a community agency that consistently gives back to the people on Whidbey Island.
As we begin the holiday period, after Halloween through the New Year, IDIPIC wants to remind everyone to drive sober on our roads. A month ago, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released fatal traffic crash data for 2016. In all, 37,461 lives were lost on U.S. roads in 2016, an increase of 5.6 percent from 2015.
According to NHTSA, distracted driving, with 3,450 deaths, showed a decrease of 2.2 percent. Drowsy driving had 803 deaths, a decrease of 3.5 percent.
However, speeding fatalities increased 4 percent with 10,111 deaths. Drunk driving fatalities increased 1.7 percent with 10,497 deaths. Those not wearing seat belts also went up 4.6 percent, with 10,428 fatalities. Here’s the NHTSA link: www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/usdot-releases-2016-fatal-traffic-crash-data
We can, and must do better. How can you help prevent impaired driving? Plan ahead, have a conversation with your family and friends about the consequences of driving impaired. This will remind you to be responsible for yourself and others.
For additional information about IDIPIC, please visit our website (http://idipic.org/ and the link to our Facebook site).
On behalf of all of our volunteers, speakers, supporters, and “Partners in Prevention” (donors), I wish you a safe, joyous, and satisfying holiday season.
Editor’s note: Diamanti is the director of the Impaired Driving Impact Panel of Island County.