Moments of Impact: A New Docudrama Sets Out to Help People Say - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Moments of Impact: A New Docudrama Sets Out to Help People Say No to Drinking & Driving

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It's better to pay the small price than the big one.  That's the message in the new docudrama, Moments of Impact, which re-lives a horrific Mandan car crash.

It was October 29, 2011.  Five young men climbed into a car and sped through a Mandan neighborhood.  From high school friends and teammates to drinking buddies, they spent lots of time together.

That night, three of them died together.

"The week after that crash, my daughter had to attend two funerals.  One of these boys had called her at about one o'clock right before the crash and said we're going to a party.  We're coming to pick you up.  She declined," says Tom Regan, Moments of Impact Producer at KAT Communications.

The driver awoke in intensive care, his life changed forever.  He's currently serving prison time for his role as drunk driver.

"Over 43 percent of all motor vehicle fatality crashes are alcohol-related," says Drew Wrigley, North Dakota Lieutenant Governor.  "One-fourth of all the arrests for criminal offenses in North Dakota are for driving under the influence, an unacceptable situation," says Wayne Stenehjem, North Dakota Attorney General.

North Dakota, second highest in the nation for percentage of alcohol-related deaths, recently enacted a new law that strengthens drunk driving penalties.  Upon a second conviction, offenders, including juveniles, must participate in the 24/7 Sobriety Program for a year, which requires them to test twice per day.

"It's important to have tough, enforceable, immediate consequences," says Stenehjem.  Lieutenant Governor Wrigley adds, "We're not asking people to eradicate human suffering of every order.  We're asking people to not drink and get behind the wheel of a vehicle and drive after having too much to drink.  It's a requirement in a civil society."

Producers of Moments of Impact tell this tragic story in the hopes of changing choices.  They say having a designated driver or calling a cab is a small price to pay to avoid the ultimate loss-of-life price.  

"All those lives could easily have gone on if people made different decisions," says Lieutenant Governor Wrigley.  Marge Ellefson of Mandan, a former neighbor of one of the crash victims, says, "People are being proactive and taking a tragedy and trying to prevent another one.  I wish my daughter would have seen it.  Those were people that she knew."

The docudrama will be incorporated into North Dakota Highway Patrol and Safety Council programs.  All North Dakota schools will be receiving a copy.

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