Did you know that Montana has one of the highest rates of young adults killed in crashes that involve alcohol-intoxicated drivers?

So why do young people drink and drive? According to “Key Insights from Young Adults" within the report entitled “Drinking and Driving in the Big Sky State," published by Montana State University:

There is a culture of drinking and driving in Montana, particularly rural Montana; young people have pride and overconfidence in being able to drive after drinking alcohol; pressure from friends encouraging alcohol consumption; a lack of alternative transportation in small rural towns; and they want to get home and need their car the following day.

Why do some young people choose not to drink and drive? Fear of harming others or themselves, usually taught by a personal experience or community tragedy; legal and financial reasons; reputation of a DUI citation; and peer pressure with concern for their and other’s safety.

So what can be done to deter drinking and driving in Ravalli County? The first and most important piece is education that begins at home with parents. Second is educating our young people with programs in the schools. Thanks to our school administrators, the Ravalli County DUI Task Force is involved in numerous educational campaigns with the help of law enforcement officers and first responders; legal, judicial and medical professionals; counselors; and guest speakers who are victims and perpetrators of drunk and drugged driving crashes.

Lastly is by the help of you, our community, who donate their time and business resources helping us in our school programs.

Remember we all share the roads, and safe driving allows us to make it home tonight and every night.

– Glenda Wiles, Ravalli County DUI Task Force Coordinator