When we began our work with Oneida County more than 20 years ago, there were almost 400 alcohol-related fatalities yearly, and the tragic toll was rising every year.

With the Oneida County STOP-DWI team, we began an effort to eliminate this needless carnage, and make our region’s roadways safer. We began with branding, and quickly moved to reach a target audience that had learned to tune out similar messages in the past. Over the years, we’ve used humor, shock, embarrassment and seduction to reach young drivers, and have made DWI a subject of conversation among those most likely to be its perpetrators (and victims).

In 2009, the last year for which statistics are available, there were fewer than 200 DWI-related fatalities in Oneida County, which has become a model for similar efforts throughout the state. This is still a serious problem and there is always more work to be done, but helping law enforcement save so many lives is an accomplishment we don’t mind celebrating.