The holidays are a time for celebration. Unfortunately, the holiday spirit is often destroyed by the recklessness of a drunk driver. That’s why Wyoming Medical Center Safe Communities is joining with highway safety partners and law enforcement organizations across the country to remind everyone that buzzed driving is drunk driving.

Join the Natrona County Drunk Driving Committee on Thursday, Nov. 20, at 11:30 am at the Casper College Student Center & UWC at the Thunderbird Nest for this year’s Holiday Campaign Kick-Off event. The kick-off will feature a brief safety message and root beer floats. It will also feature remarks by Kerry Shatto, a father of one of the eight University of Wyoming cross-country runners killed by a drunk driver in 2001.

Other presenters include Casper College student Sharon Mooney and Casper Mayor Paul Meyer. The Natrona County Drunk Driving Committee is a coalition made up of the Casper College Criminal Justice students and instructor Art Washut, Sgt. John Becker of the Natrona County Sheriff’s Department, WMC Safe Communities, MADD, WYDOT, Casper/Evansville/Mills police departments, Wyoming Highway Patrol and the Natrona County Coroner.

Every year, more than 10,322 people are killed by drunk drivers in America. This time of year is especially dangerous due to holiday celebrations and frequent parties. In December 2012 alone, there were 830 people killed in crashes involving at least one drunk driver or motorcycle operator.

WMC Safe Communities is encouraging people to take steps to ensure their holiday celebrations don’t end in tragedy.

· If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving. Plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the party begins.

· When you know you’ll be drinking, leave your keys at home or give them to someone else. If you have been drinking, do not drive—even a short distance. Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, use public transportation or Safe Ride. The Governor’s Council on Impaired Driving encourages you to use the new Drive Sober Wyoming app which helps users phone or text a friend for a ride.

· Help others be responsible, too. If someone you know is drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel.