Everyone should know the risks of drinking and driving, and that there are alternatives. If you drink alcohol and drive, you risk hurting yourself, hurting someone else, losing your driver’s license, arrest a criminal conviction, and jail. If you choose to drink, you don’t have to get behind the wheel. There are alternatives. Remember, “Get a Ride! Call a cab. Take the bus. Just don’t drink and drive.
Click here to download a printable “Get a Ride!” poster
Impaired driving includes alcohol and drugs.
Click Here to link to the Drug & Alcohol Resources page.
Articles & Press Releases
“Get a Ride!” Campaign Seeks To Prevent Drunk Driving – August 28, 2007
GET A RIDE!
Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal — City of Bloomington – Indiana University—Ivy Tech Bloomington
For Immediate Release
August 28, 2007
For More Information, contact:
Chris Gaal, Office of the Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney, 349-2670
“Get a Ride!” Campaign Seeks To Prevent Drunk Driving
Bloomington, IN – Students returning to Bloomington for the fall semester will be welcomed by messages urging them to “Get a Ride” rather than get behind the wheel of a car when they have been drinking alcohol.
The message was developed and organized into a public awareness campaign by Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal with support form the City of Bloomington, the Indiana University Division of Student Affairs, Indiana University Department of Applied Health Sciences and Ivy Tech Bloomington.
Prosecuting Attorney Gaal wants people to know the risks of drinking and driving, and that there are alternatives.
“If you drink alcohol and drive, you risk hurting yourself, hurting someone else, losing your driver’s license, arrest, a criminal conviction and jail”, Gaal said. “If you choose to drink, you don’t have to get behind the wheel.”
The campaign logo, featuring a stylized version of the downtown square, emphasizes the slogan “Get a Ride! Call a Cab. Take the Bus. Just Don’t Drink and Drive.” The message will be featured on 10 city buses, inside the entire fleet of IU buses, on cards distributed to city neighborhoods, and on posters displayed throughout both the IU and Ivy Tech campuses and elsewhere in the community.
City of Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan agrees the “Get a Ride!” campaign is an important public safety initiative.
“August is ‘Be Friendly Bloomington’ month,” Kruzan said, “and friends don’t let friends drive drunk. It is important we put emphasis on keeping the city safe and looking after our friends. Driving drunk can cause a lot of pain and suffering not only to yourself, but to those around you as well.”
Kruzan also noted that every weekend the City of Bloomington Police Department arrests impaired drivers who pose a danger to the public.
“I am pleased to see us being more proactive about this problem and trying to find a way to prevent the danger from happening in the first place rather than simply reacting to it,” Kruzan said.
IU Dean of Students Richard N. McKaig said the university is eager to join forces with its community partners to help spread such an important message.
“IU is pleased to support this project as a complement to our initiation of AlcoholEdu, a three-hour alcohol education course which every incoming freshman was required to take this year before classes began,” McKaig said. “Together with our partners, we hope to reduce the occurrences of driving under the influences of alcohol in our community.”
Ivy Tech Chancellor John Whikehart is equally as eager to be part of the effort.
“Ivy Tech supports the Get a Ride campaign and is partnering with Indiana University and the community in an effort to educate young people about the dangers of alcohol,” Whikehart said. “We will continue to support community efforts to make sure that alcohol does not claim any of the promising futures we are building at Ivy Tech.”
Recent statistics show that drunk driving continues to be a significant local problem. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 320 people (34% of all traffic deaths) died in alcohol-related crashes in the State of Indiana in 2005. Of all adults placed on probation in Monroe County during 2006, 37% were convicted of impaired driving – 491 offenders. Of those, 12% were involved in a crash and 28% were repeat drunk driving offenders.
Ride campaign has it right – Herald-Times, August 30, 2007
Ride campaign has it right
August 30, 2007
Every day, there are too many drunken drivers on the road.
Of course, one would be too many.
So it is productive that Monroe County Prosecutor Chris Gaal, Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan, Indiana University Dean of Students Dick McKaig and Ivy Tech Bloomington Chancellor John Whikehart announced a program Tuesday aimed at preventing people from drinking and driving.
The program’s message is to the point:
“Get a ride!
“Call a cab. Take the bus.
“Just don’t drink and drive.”
It serves as a reminder that people who drink alcohol and then drive their vehicle risk injuring themselves or others, as well as going to jail.
The message will be on city buses, inside IU buses, on posters in the community and on fliers being handed out at 2,500 residences near campus.
The warning can’t be heard or seen enough. This united stand on the issue is a community service.
Prosecutor Announces New Procedure for Blood Alcohol Testing in Drunk Driving Cases – June 28, 2007
For Immediate Release
June 28, 2007
For More Information, contact:
Chris Gaal, Office of the Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney, 349-2670
Prosecutor Announces New Procedure for Blood Alcohol Testing in Drunk Driving Cases
Bloomington, IN — Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal today announced a new procedure for obtaining blood alcohol testing in suspected drunk driving cases. Gaal hopes the expedited procedure will result in a win-win situation for both law enforcement and Bloomington Hospital.
According to Gaal, the old process was an inefficient use of time and resources, with officers sometimes waiting in the emergency department for up to two or three hours. “Officers waiting in the hospital can’t respond to other emergency calls,” Gaal explained, “With limited law enforcement resources, it is essential to public safety that officers not be delayed while investigating these cases. My goal is to streamline the process to get the officer in and out as quickly as possible.”
When a drunk driving suspect refuses to take the breath test, police have the option, under the law, of calling a judge to request a search warrant for a blood draw. “In that situation,” Gaal said, “the suspect is not at the hospital for medical treatment, we don’t need to admit the suspect as a patient, see a doctor, and waste valuable medical resources in the emergency department.” Under the new procedure, police officers will bypass the emergency department and the blood draw will be conducted by a hospital lab technician.
Drunk driving continues to be a serious problem in Indiana, where according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 27% of people who died in alcohol-related highway crashes in 2004 involved a driver with an illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or above – the legal limit throughout the United States. In 2005 according to NHTSA, 16,885 people died in alcohol-related highway crashes in the U.S., of which nearly 13,000 people involved a driver with a BAC of 0.08 or above. Overall, 39 percent of all traffic deaths in the U.S. last year involved alcohol.
As part of its public mission to serve the needs of the community, Bloomington Hospital worked with Gaal to develop the new blood draw procedure. “Bloomington Hospital deserves a tremendous amount of credit for promoting public safety and the good of the community,” said Gaal. The hospital will charge only five dollars per blood draw which will be billed to the Office of the Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney.
“We were glad to help establish this new process and community collaboration,” said Owen Slaughter, M.D., director of the Emergency Department at Bloomington Hospital. “Not only will this new process be more efficient for our community’s police officers, but it will free up valuable time for our Emergency Department nurses and physicians, allowing us to spend more time on hands-on patient care.”
For the past month, Gaal has conducted a series of training sessions on the new blood draw procedure for the Bloomington Police Department, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, the Indiana University Police Department and the Indiana State Police. After attending several early morning and late night roll calls, Gaal is convinced that most of the officers are now aware of the new procedure and are ready to use it. “We want to make this easier for you because getting the blood alcohol level is a key piece of evidence that will allow us to get convictions in drunk driving cases,” Gaal described in his presentations. Getting a conviction is especially important to Gaal where a suspect has a prior drunk driving conviction, there was an accident, someone was injured, or the suspect resisted law enforcement.
Indiana University Police Captain Keith Cash welcomes the streamlined process. “Solving this problem is overdue,” he agreed. “Because getting a blood draw in a breath test refusal case took so long in the past, we often didn’t have the resources to spare and the case eventually got dismissed or never filed by the prosecutor.” Monroe County Chief Deputy Sheriff Scott Mellinger concurs, “This makes our job a lot easier and should lead to better law enforcement.”
Gaal believes that past practice sent the message that refusing to take the breath test was the way to “beat the system.” Gaal wants his administration in the prosecutor’s office to send a different message. “If you refuse the breath test, not only will you lose your license for a year, but the police will take you to the hospital and get your blood alcohol level anyway – and if you’re above the legal limit you’ll be prosecuted and convicted.”
Bloomington Police Department Captain Mike Diekhoff hopes that the new blood draw procedure will result in fewer breath test refusals over time, “With the quicker procedure for getting a blood draw we’ll be able to do it more often. People will get the message that there is no advantage in refusing the breath test.”
Prosecutor Receives Outstanding Service Award from I.U. Commission on Alcohol – May 15, 2008
For Immediate Release
May 15, 2008
For More Information, contact:
Chris Gaal, Office of the Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney, 349-2670
PROSECUTOR RECEIVES OUTSTANDING SERVICE AWARD FROM I.U. COMMISSION ON ALCOHOL
Bloomington, IN — The Indiana University Campus-Community Commission on Alcohol presented the Fifth Annual Sharon Stephens Brehm Outstanding Service Award 2008 to Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal. The Brehm Award is bestowed annually upon a person or program that exemplifies best efforts to reduce underage and dangerous drinking on campus and in the community. It is named after Dr. Sharon Brehm, who came to I.U. as Chancellor and is now a Professor of Psychology and President of the American Psychological Association.
Gaal was recognized for promoting several initiatives to prevent the dangers associated with alcohol abuse, including the “Get A Ride!” campaign – a public education project intended to reduce drunk driving. Gaal developed the campaign in collaboration with I.U. Division of Student Affairs, I.U. Department of Applied Health Sciences, Ivy Tech Bloomington, and the City of Bloomington. The original orange logo featured a stylized Bloomington downtown skyline with the slogan “Get a Ride! Call a Cab. Take the Bus. Just Don’t Drink and Drive.” The message was displayed on city and I.U. buses, taxi cabs, on posters throughout campus and the community, and repeated on several radio and television public service announcements.
According to data from the Core Survey, a scientific poll administered under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education through the Indiana Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking, the number of students who self reported “driving a car while under the influence” declined from 39% in 2006 to only 25% in 2008.
“We believe that a decline as significant as this, fourteen percent, reflects a change in student attitudes resulting from the social marketing effect of the Get a Ride! campaign,” said Dee Owens, Director of the I.U. Alcohol and Drug Information Center.
“I’m pleased that the Get a Ride! campaign has had a measurable positive effect,” said Gaal. “It shows how community-based education efforts can promote public safety.”
In addition, Gaal also worked with Bloomington Hospital to create a new expedited procedure for police to obtain blood draws in drunk driving cases, not only reducing the amount of time police must spend in the emergency department waiting room, but assisting in the conviction of drunk drivers.
In response to seeing a number of cases involving students with dangerously high blood alcohol levels, the Prosecutor’s Office also began requiring more intensive alcohol education and treatment as a condition of the pretrial diversion program in those cases.
Gaal hopes to continue further collaborations with the university and community groups to address the link between alcohol and sexual assault through a future public education campaign.
Study: Alcohol-related problems decreasing among IU Bloomington students, especially freshmen – November 2009
Study: Alcohol-related problems decreasing among IU Bloomington students, especially freshmen
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 12, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — A new study conducted by the Indiana Prevention Resource Center (IPRC) at Indiana University’s School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation shows that alcohol abuse among IU Bloomington students has markedly decreased, even as alcohol abuse among college students across the nation is on the rise.
“In the past, our rates have been higher than the rest of the country,” said Dee Owens, director of IU’s Alcohol-Drug Information Center in the Division of Student Affairs. “Now, instead of looking at our numbers going up or just staying steady — which is considered a great success — we saw our numbers go down in every category,” she said.
The 2008-09 ICAN (Indiana Collegiate Action Network ) survey, combined with the results of the previous two years’ CORE surveys, showed the following results for Indiana University Bloomington students:
The percentage of students who consumed more than five drinks in a week went from 42.8 percent in 2006 to 37.5 percent in 2009, a 12.4 percent decrease.
The percentage of students who engaged in binge drinking in the previous two weeks went from 60.3 percent in 2006 to 56.8 percent in 2009, a 5.8 percent decrease.
The percentage of students who have experienced legal troubles or received disciplinary action in the previous two weeks went from 15.3 percent in 2006 to 12.3 percent in 2009, a 19.6 percent decrease.
The percentage of students who have driven while intoxicated went from 38.4 percent in 2006 to 22.6 percent in 2009, a 41.1 percent decrease.
A meta-analysis from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/), which uses numbers from government databases and national surveys, showed that alcohol abuse on college campuses nationwide has increased over the past 10 years. The number of alcohol-related deaths among 18- to 24-year-olds rose from 1,440 in 1998 to 1,825 in 2005, while “episodic (binge) drinking” saw a 3 percentage point increase in the same time period, from 42 percent to 45 percent.
Owens attributes the success of lower numbers at IU Bloomington while alcohol abuse is on the rise nationwide to two primary factors: a widespread “Get a ride! Just don’t drink and drive” campaign created and supported by Monroe County Prosecutor Chris Gaal, and the institution of AlcoholEdu (http://kb.iu.edu/data/avui.html), a required online course for all incoming IU Bloomington freshmen and transfer students. The 2- to 3-hour, interactive AlcoholEdu class varies by individual, depending on how questions are answered.
“We want everybody who comes to campus to receive accurate education to start. The choices students make after that are up to them, but they can no longer say ‘Gosh, we didn’t know that,'” Owens said.
With help from a two-year grant through IPRC/HPER, researchers conducted two CORE surveys from 2006-2008, switching to the state-funded ICAN survey in 2008 (numbers were confirmed as comparable between the two surveys).
The ICAN survey is funded through a federal block grant from the Division of Mental Health and Addiction through the Indiana Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking, of which Owens is president. The CORE surveys and AlcoholEdu were funded by the federal Department of Education for two years; AlcoholEdu is now funded by the IU Parents’ Association.
“We do know from research that students form their behaviors in the first six weeks of class. If we can front-load information, we can help shape those behaviors,” Owens said.
“We know that education alone can be ineffective, but it works when combined with other evidence-based practices — the mandatory, interactive online class; the public campaign that has become ubiquitous; and now a student judicial system that sends student offenders through a screening to be certain they don’t have a clinical problem with alcohol and a referral system for intervention and treatment if they do,” she said.
After a four-year cohort of AlcoholEdu and the widespread campaign, a behavioral “sea change” will have already taken effect, said Owens. Among other information, the public campaign contains details about public transportation options as well as the free “Night Owl Express” (formerly “Midnight Special”) that provides rides for students to prevent drinking and driving.
“That behavioral change requires four years,” she said. “Now, when you talk to juniors, they go ‘Oh yeah, I took AlcoholEdu when I was a freshman.’ Next year, when you talk to seniors, they’ll say, ‘Oh yes, I took that when I was a freshman.’ Then, suddenly, it’s institutionalized.”
The 2009 ICAN survey data will be made public at the ICAN conference Friday (Nov. 13) at the Radisson Hotel at the former Indianapolis Airport location.
Legislature Fixes Loophole in Drunk Driving Law – March 13, 2010
March 13, 2010
Legislature Fixes Loophole in Drunk Driving Law
For more information contact:
Chris Gaal, Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal (812) 361-1838
Indianapolis, IN – In June of 2007 Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal announced an expedited procedure for obtaining blood draws at Bloomington Hospital in drunk-driving cases. The law has long allowed an officer to request that a judge issue a search warrant upon a finding of probable cause to authorize a blood draw when a drunk-driving suspect refuses the breath test. Prior to the new procedure, law enforcement would routinely wait for two to three hours in the emergency department at the hospital, expending valuable time and resources for both the police and the hospital. Because officers did not have the ability to both obtain a blood draw and respond to other emergencies, they were often compelled to forgo getting blood alcohol results in drunk-driving investigations. Word got out on the street that refusing the breath test was a way to ‘beat the system’ and avoid a criminal conviction for drunk driving.
Following the new process, officers were typically able to get in and out of the hospital inside twenty minutes. A phlebotomist, a lab technician trained to draw blood, would take the sample from the suspect, allowing emergency care physicians and nurses to respond to medical emergencies. It was a win-win for both law enforcement and the hospital – and the blood alcohol content evidence resulted in improved enforcement by the prosecutor in drunk-driving cases.
That was until a Court of Appeals case (Brown v. State, 911 N.E.2d 558 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009) interpreted the drunk driving statute to require that all blood draws be conducted by a “certified phlebotomist” according to the language that was found elsewhere in the statute (IC 9-30-6-6.) The case changed what had been settled Indiana law for at least the last twenty years, and undermined the new expedited blood draw procedure. Indiana did not have a certification process for phlebotomists, and hospitals were unable to comply with the new requirement. While the Indiana Supreme Court accepted transfer of the Brown decision on appeal, thus vacating the decision, the statute still needed clarification.
Gaal brought the loophole to the attention of State Senator Vi Simpson, and State Representatives Matt Pierce and Peggy Welch. Legislation was developed with the Indiana Prosecuting Attorney’s Council (IPAC) and sponsored by State Senator Lanane. Senate Bill 342 clarified that the section of the statute containing the term “certified phlebotomist” did not apply to blood draws conducted in a hospital setting. Gaal traveled to Indianapolis to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which passed the bill unanimously. Senate Bill 342 was then passed by both the Senate and the House and sent to Governor Mitch Daniels with an emergency clause to make it effective upon his signature. Governor Daniels signed the bill on Friday, March 12, 2010.
The statute requires that hospital blood draws be conducted according to a protocol approved by a physician and in a medically acceptable manner. The amendment clarified that the section referring to a “certified phlebotomist” did not apply in a hospital setting so that the expedited blood draw process could be resumed in Monroe County.
“This was a necessary clarification that is important for prosecutors and law enforcement officers throughout the State,” said IPAC Executive Director Steve Johnson.
“It was important to fix this loophole in the law,” said State Senator Vi Simpson. “We want to ensure that law enforcement officers and prosecutors have the tools needed to prosecute drunk drivers and protect the public’s safety.”
Along with improved enforcement, Gaal developed a public education effort to prevent drunk driving – the “Get a Ride!” campaign. A colorful poster urged people to call a cab or take the bus, just don’t drink and drive. It appeared on taxi kiosks, buses, and was featured in public service announcements on radio and TV throughout the community.
At the same time, Indiana University also implemented the new AlcoholEdu computer-based course for all incoming freshmen.
“Our research demonstrates that the combined effect of Get a Ride! and AlcoholEdu caused a measurable change in not only student attitudes toward drinking and driving but also actual behavioral practices,” said Dee Owens, Director of the Alcohol-Drug Information Center at Indiana University. Owens cites data from the national CORE survey conducted by the Department of Education, corroborated by the ICAN survey of fourteen Indiana college campuses, showing a 41.1% decrease in the number of students who self-reported driving under the influence between 2006 and 2009.
“The lesson here is that better enforcement along with education and prevention efforts can make a real difference,” said Owens.
Community Partners Promote “Get A Ride!” Drunk Driving Prevention on New Year’s Eve – December 2013
December 27, 2013
Amanda Roach, IU Health Bloomington Hospital, Marketing & Community Relations
812.353.9691 l firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Gaal, Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney
(812) 349-2670 email@example.com
Bloomington, Indiana – Once again local partners in the community are working together to prevent drunk driving during New Year’s Eve in Bloomington. “Get a Ride, Call a Taxi, Get the Bus, Just Don’t Drink and Drive” is the slogan being sponsored by the City of Bloomington Safe and Civil City Program, IU Division of Student Affairs, IU Health Bloomington Hospital, IVY Tech Community College – Bloomington, and the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office.
This year’s message will be spread even more widely as participating restaurants and bars that serve alcohol join in the effort. Several local establishments will display table tents and posters with the familiar “Get a Ride!” slogan and phone numbers for the three local cab companies – e2 Taxi, Red Tire Taxi, and Yellow Cab Co. Inc. Servers will also wear “Get a Ride!” buttons as they wait tables. Many are also offering free soft drinks for designated drivers.
“We hope this education effort will increase awareness that there are alternatives to getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol,” says Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Gaal, who originated the campaign in 2007. “If you drink alcohol and drive, you risk hurting yourself, hurting someone else, losing your driver’s license, arrest, a criminal conviction and jail,” Gaal explains on the public service announcement video.
In addition to spreading the word in bars and restaurants, Lamar Outdoor Advertising has donated three billboards with the public service message. Five Bloomington Transit buses will also display the poster. In addition, local radio and television will run announcements featuring the “Get a Ride!” message. Learn more about drunk driving prevention at www.monroeprosecutor.us