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12-28-05, 02:03 PM
It's about time we started returning to making people responsible for their OWN actions, instead of making THEIR problems someone ELSE'S problems ...


MADD wants drinkers to resolve to be more responsible, find their own safe ways home.

Here's a sobering New Year's Eve thought: This year, Mothers Against Drunk Driving wants partygoers in Metro Detroit to treat the night like any other and find their own safe way home if they've had too much to drink.

For the first time in MADD's 21-year awareness campaign, the organization will not arrange free cab rides for those too intoxicated to drive. Instead, MADD is distributing 1,000 coupons offering a $2 discount on rides from about 20 participating cab companies.

"We're advocating personal responsibility," said Alice Stacy, executive director of the Macomb County chapter of MADD. She maintained the change from years past is not for lack of funds.

"That is not the issue," she said. "We live in a different age now than 21 years ago, when the program started."

Even so, Stacy said only a handful of other MADD chapters nationally have made similar changes.

As evidence of more responsible driving habits, Stacy said Metro Detroit has not had a fatal traffic accident on New Year's Eve in about five years.

Across Michigan, the number of alcohol-related fatal car accidents has dropped throughout the decade, from 528 in all of 2000 to 430 last year, MADD reports, citing numbers from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The Michigan State Police reports 282 fatal, alcohol- or drug-related car accidents as of Nov. 30. That is down from the 363 accidents by that time in 2003.

Nationally, there were 16,694 fatal, alcohol-related car accidents in 2004, the second consecutive annual drop.

Under the old free-ride program, MADD called cabs for revelers and a corporate sponsor picked up the tab.

Stacy said that has cost as much as $10,000 and involved up to 600 trips for about 1,300 riders. But for an area with limited public transportation, cabs were often in short supply, thwarting the purpose of the program, she said.

"By 2 a.m. things were so jam-packed, people were not waiting around for cabs anyway," Stacy said. "There are not enough cabs in the metropolitan Detroit area to accommodate everyone."

She expects the SMART bus system will still offer free rides on St. Patrick's Day.