'Open Season' on drunk driving under way in Natrona County
Residents of Natrona County are once again declaring Open Season Against Drunk Drivers this holiday season.
Through increased enforcement, outreach and public visibility, You Drink and Drive. You Lose. of Natrona County is enabling residents to take back their streets from drunk driving. It’s a multi-agency committee that sponsors the annual “Open Season on Drunk Drivers” including Casper College, Casper Police, city of Casper, Evansville Police, M.A.D.D., Mills Police, Natrona County Commission, Natrona County Coroner, Natrona County Sheriff, Safe Kids/Communities of Central Wyoming, WYDOT District 2, Wyoming Highway Patrol and Wyoming Medical Center.
A Nov. 13 news conference in Casper launched the campaign with Evansville Police Chief Zach Gentile giving the official “OK” for residents to use 9-1-1 to report drunk drivers. Pat Sweeney, with the Natrona County Liquor Dealers Association, encouraged those who may find themselves too drunk to drive to use Tipsy Taxi to get home. A voucher program offering low to no cost taxi rides home within the greater Casper area, Tipsy Taxi has been very successful, allowing over 700 potential drunk drivers to get home safely and more importantly, keeping them off the roads. Relying on donations, the program can cost upwards of $40,000 per year, depending on its use. This year, YDYDYL is challenging area businesses to donate $1 per employee to Tipsy Taxi.
While Tipsy Taxi is a central part of the annual Open Season campaign, it’s not the only component. Portable dynamic message signs donated by the city of Casper, display the message “It’s Open Season on Drunk Driving … Dial 9-1-1 throughout the Casper area.” Similar messages appear at area bars and restaurants, along with a challenge by students at Casper College to other students to decrease alcohol abuse and driving drunk.