Senator Kent Williams On The SANTA Program

By Sen. Kent Williams
The folks at the S.C. Department of Public Safety say there’s a SANTA we all can believe in.
In fact, almost anybody can be this SANTA. That’s because SANTA, in this case, stands for a Sober All Night Totally Awesome Designated Driver. And, this holiday season Department of Public Safety officials are urging residents to “Be a SANTA!”
That’s the snappy catchphrase from the new campaign launched this month to encourage designated driving and, ultimately, reduce the number of alcohol-related traffic injuries and deaths on our state roads.
In partnership with the S.C. Hospitality Association, the Department of Public Safety designed the month-long campaign “to complement enforcement efforts and safe ride services, such as those provided by taxi companies,” according to the agency’s press release.
“Give the gift of a safe ride home,” Leroy Smith, the state’s new public safety director, said in a press release. “That is what designated drivers do. They help to ensure those they care about make it home safely and they help to ensure the safety of others on the road as well. And that gift could save someone’s life.”
The Columbia area will serve as a pilot for the SANTA campaign this year. But officials hope support for its efforts will spread throughout the state next year.
State public safety officials say drunk driving remains one of the leading causes of traffic deaths in South Carolina. During the Christmas and New Year’s seasons, the danger of drunk driving increases, according to state officials. And, the Be a SANTA campaign encourages people to decide to refrain from alcohol use before going out to restaurants, bars and holiday gatherings. The message is reinforced through a new TV commercial, digital billboards and printed materials at participating restaurants and bars. Those who volunteer to be “Be a SANTA” may receive a sticker showing their commitment to abstain from alcohol or anything else that could impair driving. In addition, some restaurants may offer the SANTA a free non-alcoholic drink.
Smith said in the press release, “we encourage responsible adults all over the state to take the keys and be a designated driver for their loved ones during the holidays and all year round. Anybody, anywhere can Be a SANTA!”
In an answer to that age-old question, let me say, “Yes, South Carolina, there is a SANTA.”

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