FORT HOOD, Texas -- Pledging his support for the “Tie One On for Safety” campaign, Lt. Gen. Pat White, III Corps and Fort Hood commanding general, signed the campaign pledge before he tied a red ribbon on the front of his vehicle to show his support for the drinking and not driving campaign here, Oct. 30.
“We know the dangers associated if you make the choice to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after you’ve been drinking – something bad is going to happen,” White said. “Sometimes that bad is absolutely catastrophic and we just can’t afford to do that, so we’ve got to take care of each other.”
Started by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the annual campaign began in 1986 to put an end to alcohol-related vehicle fatalities. According to MADD, some of the most dangerous times of the year to drive are during the holiday season, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. During the 2019 holiday season, 1,068 people were killed in drunk driving accidents, which was 29% of the total traffic fatalities during that time.
Fort Hood’s Army Substance Abuse Program has red ribbons for people to tie on their vehicles to show their support for the campaign. The bright red ribbon is meant to encourage people to stop and question the significance of the ribbon.
Ronald Smiley, ASAP prevention coordinator, said they are encouraging people to find alternate means of celebrating, instead of turning to alcohol. If alcohol will be consumed, he urges people to have a plan for alternate means of transportation, such as Uber, Lyft, taxi or a designated driver.
“One of the main reasons we start it early is because we want to get the message out prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, when we know people will be celebrating,” Smiley added. “That carries on through to January of next year.”
Even after the campaign season, he encourages people to be cognizant of what they’re doing year-round. He encourages people to keep money set aside to pay for their ride home or call their first-line supervisor for a ride. There is also an app people can download to find a designated driver. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s SaferRide app is a prime example of how to find a designated driver in the area. The free app is available on Android and Apple devices.
Any fatality impacts the Army and avoidable deaths are even harder. White said it is important for Soldiers to focus on their well-being and the well-being of their families.
“This is the foundation of having our Soldiers and their families take care of themselves first,” White added. “If I don’t have our Soldiers and families doing that, then we create a hole in our formations.”
For more information about the Fort Hood ASAP, visit https://home.army.mil/hood/index.php/units-tenants/Garrison-1/directorate-human-resources/army-substance-abuse-program, https://www.facebook.com/FortHoodASAP or call them at (254) 287-7575.