Friday, September 5, 2003
Oak Creek Although it's illegal for high school students to drink alcohol, some do.
That's the premise several South Routt parents are using to form a group they hope will get teens home safely.
"We're not encouraging them by any means to go out and drink, but you know as well as I do they're going to do it," said Christie Fox, a South Routt parent who helped come up with the idea for the group. "We are telling (them), please don't feel like you have to drive."
A proposal for the program, called "Arrive Alive," will be presented to the community after the Oak Creek Town Board meeting Sept. 11. The program would have on-call drivers to take home from parties teen-agers who have been drinking.
Fox said that she would like to see as many teachers, parents and students as possible come to the discussion.
"Our biggest hurdle is going to be getting it through the kids' heads that we're not encouraging them to drink. ... But we want them to know that the service is there if they're going to drink and drive," Fox said.
If the program is started, Fox said it would be volunteer-based. The group would not ask Oak Creek or other towns for funds for gas or insurance but instead would rely on volunteer support.
The program would have a no-questions-asked policy. A driver won't require teenage users to give their names but will ask only where to pick them up and where to drop them off.
Even though many parents tell their teenagers to call them for a ride, Fox said that in many cases the teens are too afraid they'll get in trouble for drinking and so try to drive themselves home or ride with a friend who has been partying.
By giving teenagers a neutral group of volunteer drivers to call, it might be possible to save lives, Fox said.
"Even if we can save one life, it's better than losing that one life," she said.
Angela Bracegirdle, an emergency medical technician for Oak Creek and Yampa, is helping Fox with the project. She said that in her work, she's seen teenagers killed by drinking and driving.
"To be able to get the kids home safe is important to me," Bracegirdle said. "I was a kid once, and I know that kids are going to go and party. Granted, I called my father, but a lot of kids won't do that for fear of getting in trouble."
Discussion of "Arrive Alive" will take place on Thursday after the Oak Creek Town Board meeting at Town Hall in Oak Creek. The discussion will be informational only; the group would like to get the Town Board's support, but does not require specific permission to operate and is not asking for government funding.
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