The 2017 holiday season in the Miami County area was another safe one, according to the local Sheriff Department and the Ohio Highway Patrol. Despite rough weather that often causes difficult driving situations, both law enforcement agencies reported zero alcohol-related deaths again this year. It's due, in part, to programs such as the "Designated Driver" button campaign sponsored by the Troy and West Milton Rotary clubs and the Troy Daily News. Its 18th year just completed, Troy Rotary program chair, Dr. Michael Pope, was delighted to learn that the visible reminder to celebrate safely did its job once again. "When we first started the button campaign, our area suffered 4-5 alcohol-related deaths during each holiday season," he shared. "When you combine the button program with other 'drive sober' awareness initiatives in Miami County, the effort has saved an estimated 60 lives, or more, over the years," he added.
Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak noted that his team experienced fewer traffic stops as well, saying that there were not as many impaired drivers on the roadways compared to previous years. Lieutenant Joseph A. Gebhart, post commander for the Ohio State Highway Patrol, added that local drivers made smart decisions about their safety: they had a designated driver, or they did not get on the roads after consuming alcohol at celebrations.
The gold and blue buttons are distributed at area bars, restaurants, banks, and drive-thru businesses, in Troy, Tipp City, and West Milton during each December. The State Liquor store in Troy hands out 1,000 buttons to patrons as they make purchases. "The demand for the buttons has grown so much over the years that we plan to make more available this coming December," said Pope. "That's a great problem to have with this program," he added.
The Troy and West Milton Rotary clubs are part of Rotary International. Each club offers members an opportunity to support socio/economic issues that have an impact both locally and internationally. You can follow the Troy Rotary activities on Facebook at Troy Rotary Club. To learn more about Rotary and membership, please visit www.troyohiorotary.org.