The Harrison County chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving honored 10 Harrison County police officers this week for their efforts to keep drunk drivers off the roads.
Both of the aforementioned deserve more than just a little recognition.
That's because Wednesday's sixth annual Drunk Buster Award Dinner wasn't just a "feel-good" event. The work of both groups is making a significant difference.
The day after the MADD event, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta announced some extremely positive news: Fatal alcohol-related crashes involving drivers too young to legally drink dropped by more than half during the past two decades.
The CDC found that between 1982 and 2001, fatal crashes involving alcohol fell 46 percent among all age groups, from a rate of 12.6 per 100,000 people in 1982 to 6.7 per 100,000 in 2001. The most dramatic drops occurred with 16- and 17-year-old drivers, who had a 60 percent decrease in the rate of such crashes, from 12.1 per 100,000 to 4.8 per 100,000. Meanwhile, drivers ages 18 to 20 had a 55 percent drop.
And what did the CDC cite for this amazing turnaround? Three things: Strict laws against drunken driving, community education campaigns and a shift in public attitudes toward drinking and driving.
It's for those reasons that MADD and our area officers deserve recognition.
The officers -- who were honored for making 12 or more DUI arrests in the past year -- included Sgt. Steve Johnson, Deputy Pat McCarty, Deputy Chris Waldeck, Deputy Bill Sothern, Deputy Lucas Blair, Deputy Ben Collins, Sgt. Sandy Audia, Patrolman Jason Webber, Patrolman Robbie Root and Patrolman Steve Singleton.
Because of their efforts, someone you know or love may be alive today.