A SOBERing sight in Dallas

First Posted: 11/19/2014

DALLAS — A smashed-up green Dodge Dakota pick-up truck lays up-side-down in the grassy median at the intersection of Routes 309 and 415 in Dallas, but officials are making no attempts to clear the wreck.

The sobering sight is a reminder to do just that: sober up before driving.

Placed there by Wyoming Valley Alcohol and Drug Services, Inc. (WVADS) as a launch to the non-profit agency’s SOBER (Slow On the Bottle, Enjoy the Road) campaign, the up-side-down truck was brought in to the Back Mountain at the requests of the Lake-Lehman SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) Club and State Senator Lisa Baker.

“I think when anybody sees a vehicle like that,” said Mary Ann Maxfield, SADD club adviser. “It makes you instantly realize what could happen in a split second, if you make a bad decision, such as drinking and driving or using drugs and driving, or texting and driving — we talk about that, too. And it’s an eye-opener. It’s kind of a wake up call for anybody when you see a vehicle like that. It looks like it was put in a trash compactor.”

The club runs and participates in several related programs and activities throughout the year, including the Red Ribbon Campaign, of which this year’s theme was “Love yourself, be drug free”; literature distributions with the WVADS; presentations during prom, graduation and homecoming and more. The club also attends the WVADS ribbon-cutting ceremony at the site of the overturned SOBER vehicle, which is located in a new spot each year.

According to the group’s invitation letter to the ribbon-cutting ceremony, held on Nov. 20 at the Dallas Shopping Center, the SOBER Campaign is “built on a foundation of concern and commitment from a variety of community groups and organizations.”

“Each year,” the letter reads, “more groups, organizations and individuals join in the efforts aimed at enhancing public awareness of the hazards of drinking and driving. It is through these combined efforts and on-going dedication that we hope to reduce the number of alcohol-related auto crashes on our highways during this holiday season.”

Maxfield said the Lake-Lehman SADD Club began attending the ceremony many years ago, and is especially excited for this year, as it is the first in a long time the site is located in the Back Mountain.

“We contacted Sen. Lisa Baker’s office,” she said, “and they contacted Penn Dot to get the approval. We also worked with the Dallas Borough, who always decorates the island for the holidays.”

The students also put together some treats to hand out at the ceremony — Twizzlers candies with a short message attached, which reads, “Don’t twist your mind with drugs and alcohol. Be smart, don’t start.”

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