Designated Drivers Can Cash In On Sobriety

March 15, 1992|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff writer

Would you like a free Big Mac at McDonald's?

How about a free carwash at the Campus Hills Texaco station near Bel Air? Or a free workout at Chesapeake Fitness Center in Aberdeen?

To get these goodies and more, just serve as a designated driver when you and your buddies go out on the town.

The giveaways are part of a new program by the Harford Mothers Against Drunk Driving group to encourage people to serve as designated drivers and prevent alcohol-related traffic accidents.

Eleven people were killed in such accidents in Harford last year, according to police statistics.

"That's 11 deaths too many," said Kimberly Schaffel, coordinator of the county MADD group.

MADD unveiled the designated-driver program at a Wednesday press conference attended by county and school administrators, police chiefs and officers and representatives of companies sponsoring the program.

The Harford program, to be launched later this month, is the seventh of its kind in the United States. The programstarted in Santa Barbara, Calif., in the 1980s and spread to Nevada,Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

In Harford, the yearlong program is being paid for by $4,200 from MADD and $2,000 from State Farm Insurance Co.

MADD is sending information explaining the program to 180 establishments that serve alcohol in the county. The businesses also will receive posters, pins, stickers, bracelets and coasters promoting the program.

Under the plan, employees of participating bars and restaurants will tell parties of two or more that the business participates in the designated-driver program. Patrons who agree to be designated drivers will wear pins, entitling them to free non-alcoholic drinks.

On leaving the establishments, designated drivers will be given tokens they can redeem for goods and services at county shops.

The goods and services include: a Big Mac sandwich at eight McDonald's restaurants; a miniature golf game at Bogie Land in Forest Hill; a bowling game at Fair Lanes in Edgewood; a video rental at three Video Tonight shops; a car wash at Campus Hills Texaco; a video rental at Dell's Pharmacy in Aberdeen; a workout at Chesapeake Fitness Center; and a fresh rose at the two Greenery florist shops.

Those businesses have agreed to tell their customers which bars and restaurants are participating in the program. MADD will publish advertisements and put up billboards promoting the effort.

County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann, a member of MADD, welcomed the designated-driver program.

"People have to be more responsible for their own actions and for the actions of others," Rehrmann said at the press conference. "That's how we're going to make a difference."

Bel Air Police Chief Leo Matrangola said law enforcement agencies cannot solve the drunken-driving problem on their own.

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