TOPEKA (KSNT) — Thousands of people die from car crashes every year. Some local organizations are partnering to help reduce that number by discouraging impaired people from ever getting behind the wheel.
The Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP) says about 37 people across the country die in drunk-driving crashes each day. That’s why the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) and others are asking the community to stay sober behind the wheel — not just because it’s the law, but because of the lives potentially ruined as a result.
“A drunk driver had killed my daughter,” Jim Dultmeier said. “Her brothers will never have a sister, the grandkids will never know who she was. And for me and my wife, the impact, we’ll never get grandkids from her, or she’ll never be home for Christmas.”
This is the reality for many people when a loved one dies at the hands of an impaired driver.
“It’s every day knowing that your daughter won’t be home,” Dultmeier said. “So, it keeps me going. I want to preach that it’s not a game and the impact is terrible.”
If you feel different, you drive different. That’s the motto of the initiative KDOT and its partners are using to remind drivers about the dangers of driving under the influence.
“We’re trying to create a community of no more victims,” said Leann Briggs, a flight nurse with medical transport company Air Methods. “We want everyone to arrive safely to their destination.”
Driving under the influence doesn’t just mean alcohol, but prescriptions and other recreational drugs as well.
“There are a variety of substances that impair one’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle,” , KHP Superintendent Col. Erik Smith said. “And so it doesn’t matter what the substance is whether it’s alcohol or whether it’s drugs. Impaired driving is drugged driving, is drunk driving, and it costs people their lives.”
This campaign will run through Sept. 5. It focuses on the weeks around Labor Day weekend, but these organizations say their fight will continue year-round.