The Department of Public Safety’s “3D” Prevention Campaign’s ultimate goal is to have zero fatalities from drunk and drugged driving in the Commonwealth, not only during the holidays but all throughout the year, according to police officer Adrian Mendiola.
Speaking at last week’s Rotary Club of Saipan meeting at the Hyatt Regency Saipan, Mendiola said that DPS on average responds to 2,200 vehicular crashes every year.
The data is culled from 2010 to 2013 numbers on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.
According to the same report, 32 crashes in 2012 were alcohol related, which is down from the 59 in 2011. In 2010, alcohol-related crashes in the CNMI totaled 63.
“In terms of fatalities, in 2012 we had three alcohol-related fatalities in crashes. In 2011, we had zero, which was a big accomplishments for us here. In 2010, we had four and the current year we had one alcohol-related fatality due to a car crash. But one life lost is still one life too many. Our main goal in this campaign is to reduce those numbers. But our ultimate goal to have the big zero and we need your help,” said Mendiola.
While DPS’ “3D” Campaign focuses on public information, public awareness, and enforcement, it also has the DD Program, which stands for Designated Driver Program.
‘It’s 100 percent made up of volunteers who sacrifice their time and sacrifice their holidays to give a safe ride home to anybody who’s been consuming alcohol during the holidays,” said Mendiola.
Aside from volunteers, the DD Program also receives a lot of help from different companies that donate water, fruits, food, and rental cars that basically runs the program.
Some of the businesses that donated in-kind items to the “3D” Campaign are McDonald’s Saipan, QQ Rental Car, Joeten Motors, Microl Corp., and Shell Marianas, to name a few.
Those who imbibe too much alcohol during the holidays and are in no condition to drive can call the DD Program at hotline 483-RIDE. Mendiola said that if you are too drunk to remember that number, you can also call 911 and the operator will connect you to the program.
Those who want to volunteer as designated drivers this holiday season can call 664-0091.
In past years, the “3D” Campaign has gotten around 30 volunteers who drive more than 60 impaired drivers, Mendiola said. They usually come with another designated driver so they can drive the impaired driver’s car back home.
“That’s 60 less impaired drivers on the highways and that’s a good number. It’s a good program and a lot of volunteers have had a lot of fun. They basically save lives when they provide a safe ride home. The program has been very effective and we’ve been getting good numbers with the transports,” added Mendiola.