Anti-DUI Advocates Take Their Message to TeensBy Jeffrey Hess | Published 10 May 2012 05:13pm |
Alcohol is the leading factor in fatal car crashes in Mississippi. Last year more than 230 died as a result of drinking and driving. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports Anti-drinking and driving advocates are taking their message to teenage Mississippians.
Roughly 350 Mississippi teens listen to the Jim Hill High School Choir during the 4th annual Mother Against Drunk Driving Think Before You Drink Youth Conference.
The teens heard from police and victims of drunk driving like Jimmy Mangurum whose daughter was killed by a 15-year old drunk driver in the mid-90's.
"He got the alcohol from his mother. She instigated the trip. Because she was so drunk she couldn't get it out fo the drive way so she put him under the wheel," Mangurum said.
The 15-year old driver killed Mangurum's daughter and his own mother.
"She didn't die in defense of our country. She didn't die preaching the gospel on a mission field somewhere. She didn't die running into a burning house pulling body out. She just died because somebody wanted to get a hold of a steering wheel and drive with alcohol in their blood," Mangurum said.
Most of the teens at the conference said they know someone who drinks or drinks and drives.
17-year old Monica Wade says she used to drink until her father was killed by a drunk driver.
"I just choose not to drink and drive. I take the keys from somebody else that choose to get in the car. Or I say 'no'. I it is just one of my big morals now. If they choose to do it around me they don't do that or they don't do it around me," Wade said.
The conference organizer Shantay Griffith says the main goal is getting the teens to understand the potential damage drinking can cause to others as well as themselves.
"Nationwide we see that 6,000 people are killed due to underage drinking. Not just from driving but due to alcohol poisoning, domestic violence and different things like that. And we feel if we can make a difference for one person than we have really done our job," Griffith said.
The number of alcohol related fatalities has declined from close to 400 in 2005, but advocates say one crash is too many.
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