MIAMI COUNTY — Local law enforcement and the Troy and West Milton Rotarian Clubs have united for two decades to keep motorists safe during the holiday season.
The Rotarians kicked off their annual Designated Driver buton campaign Tuesday at the Troy Country Club.
The Designated Driver program was developed in 1998 by the Troy Rotary Club and has since expanded to include West Milton. As a no-charge community service, Troy and West Milton Rotary clubs will be distributing thousands of blue-and-gold Designated Driver buttons through area restaurants, banks, gas stations, and state liquor stores.
Larry Heisey serves as the new head of the Designated Driver program, following the stepping down of Dr. Michael Pope from the program’s duties last year.
“We look at designated drivers as our local heroes,” Heisey said. “A designated driver is a person that cares enough to see that friends and family are safe throughout the holidays. Their badge of honor is the designated driver button.”
Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak said the county will use state grants for increased patrols throughout the county.
“It’s important the public know we are all united in this effort,” said Duchak, who thanked the Rotarians for their annual button campaign to help drive the message of safety for the community as a whole.
Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Jim Davis said OSP’s Piqua post will be increasing patrols using federal funds to target impaired drivers.
Troy Police Department Capt. Shawn McKinney said the city will continue routine patrol of the city streets.
“We’ll continue to enforce with regular patrol and enforce the OVI and drunk driving statutes that seem to have increased over the years,” McKinney said.
Miami County Prosecutor Tony Kendell said the state will continue to prosecute OVI-related traffic citations.
“We’ll prosecute to the fullest extent of the law because they aggregate and the penalty for future OVIs increase — a lot of these people are repeat offenders,” Kendell said.
Law enforcement officials encouraged the community to stay alert and help keep impaired drivers off the road.
Motorists on the Ohio interstates can dial #677 if they witness erratic driving. Motorists in Miami County can call 9-1-1 or the non-emergency number (937) 440-9911 to report suspicious activity or erratic driving.
Heisey said for the past 19 years, the Ohio State Highway Patrol indicated that alcohol related crashes have been greatly reduced throughout Miami county with no alcohol related deaths during the holiday and designated driver campaign season.
Miami County has recorded 11 fatal accidents so far in 2019, matching the same number of fatalities in 2018. None of the fatal accidents involved OVI-related offenses, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol accident statistics map.
The buttons can be found at participating restaurants, banks, gas stations and the state liquor stores throughout Miami County.
The Troy and West Milton Rotary clubs are part of Rotary International. Each club offers members an opportunity to support socioeconomic issues that have a local and international impact.
Rotarian Dr. Michael Pope founded the program after reading about the button campaign in Tennessee. He also attended the press conference in support of the campaign.
For more information, visit www.troyohiorotary.org, or visit Troy Rotary Club on Facebook.
Reach Melanie Yingst at email@example.com
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