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May 19, 2024

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Local Towns Participate in Combating Drunk Driving

Sylva, Dillsboro, and Jackson County are collaborating with the Governors Highway Safety Program to combat drunk driving.

The seven western counties have been chosen as a test region to implement new strategies to reduce drunk driving in North Carolina. This effort, in partnership with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, revitalizes North Carolina’s “Booze It & Lose It” program, operating for nearly 30 years. It focuses on four key areas: law enforcement, judicial outreach, media, and community involvement.

As part of community engagement, Sylva recently launched a media campaign distributing custom drink coasters in local alcohol establishments to reinforce the initiative’s messaging.

However, the lack of accessible taxi or ride-share services like Uber or Lyft in Jackson County and neighboring regions has resulted in minimal pre-planning, unlike larger urban areas. Bernadette Peters, Sylva’s Economic Development Director, has commissioned a student team from Western Carolina University to research the community’s needs and interest in a ride-share service, as well as ways to attract taxi and shuttle services, with the project currently underway this semester.

Additionally, the Community Engagement Office at Western Carolina University is in discussions with the Students Against Destructive Decisions organization, considering the possibility of establishing a campus chapter.

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