Free sodas part of Pa. Highway Safety Project

November 21, 2000

Free sodas part of Pa. Highway Safety Project

By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Several area restaurants and bars will serve up free sodas to designated drivers this holiday season as part of an effort to deter drinking and driving.

The winter holidays are among the deadliest on Pennsylvania roads as partygoers take risks and drink and drive more, according to the South Central Pennsylvania Highway Safety Project.

The program has enlisted the aid of local establishments, including four in the Chambersburg area.

Starting today, the Cottage Family Restaurant and Laurel Lodge 133 in Chambersburg, the Lakeview Motel and Restaurant in Fannettsburg, and the Eagles Club in Waynesboro will hand out soft drinks in accordance with the program sponsored by the South Central Pennsylvania Highway Safety Project and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

"We thought it would be a good idea. We already have an in-house policy about being careful about serving too much alcohol," said Tom Boock, an owner of the Cottage Family Restaurant at 572 Wayne Ave.


"It's a good idea any time of the year, but we try to focus on this at the holidays because the injury-crash rate goes up starting at Thanksgiving," said Linda Doty, assistant coordinator of South Central Pennsylvania Highway Safety, which is based in Mechanicsburg.

"The Wednesday night before Thanksgiving is notorious for being bad. People have a long weekend and go partying, and they don't take the precautions they should," Doty said.

The other participating businesses also will follow the guidelines and offer free sodas to the designated driver identified by the group.

"I think it is a good policy and we would like to go along with it," said Benny Keck, owner of Lakeview Motel and Restaurant, 10738A Path Valley Road in Fannettsburg.

Keck expects this weekend to be a good test of the program because he predicts a large crowd due to the hunting season.

The program will run through December, which is designated as the National Drinking and Drugged Driving Prevention Month.

"We love it when businesses like this get involved. They don't want any tragedies," Doty said. "They get the recognition they are caring business owners."

There were more than 14,000 alcohol-related accidents in Pennsylvania last year.

Drivers 21 and under and 21 to 30 years old are responsible for the highest number of crashes, Doty said.

She warned that sober drivers should take extra precautions at this time of year.

"Nondrinking drivers need to be cautious as well," she said. "They should leave a cushion of space around them and the other vehicles to leave themselves an out."

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