One of West Deptford High School's annual holiday traditions doesn't involve any type of celebration, party or festive event. Instead, it focuses on awareness and bringing students back safely to school in the new year.
The school's Students Against Drunk Driving (S.A.D.D.) group was out in the school parking lot on Wednesday tying awareness ribbons around car antennas, placing them on windshield wipers or putting them in any place where people could see. The message is simple: Don't drink and drive during the holidays.
“This is something that we do every year,” said Margaret Page, the coordinator for S.A.D.D. at West Deptford High School. “It's just a nice, friendly reminder to students that this is one of the deadliest times on the road.”
Tie One on for Safety, the program's official name, is a nationwide initiative by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.) The S.A.D.D. group at West Deptford joined in on the program in 1986, and it is the group's longest-running project.
In addition to tying the ribbons on cars, the students from S.A.D.D. read a statement in school on Wednesday that highlighted their message just a couple days before the high school lets out for its winter break. The statement read:
“When you leave school today, you will see a red ribbon on your car and that is because ... one of the most dangerous times of the year on our nation’s roadways is between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. That’s why every holiday season, S.A.D.D. asks drivers to display a red ribbon—Tie One on for Safety—on their vehicle as a reminder to drive safe, sober and buckled up.”
Page said that Tie One on for Safety is one of the more well-known projects that S.A.D.D. works on. The group's efforts in past years have brought the issue of drunken driving around the holidays to the forefront at the school.
“Sometimes, when (the ribbons) get worn down, people will ask for another one,” said Page. “A couple people asked me if we're going to do it again this year. I just said I was waiting for a nice day.”
S.A.D.D. also participated in a anti-drunken driving initiative prior to Thanksgiving. They were at Joe Canal's in ShopRite Plaza to encourage people to drive sober over the holiday weekend and not buy alcohol for minors.