Fort Stewart’s Drunk Driving Prevention Program (DDPP) deters DUIs and spreads awareness of National 3D Month (Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month) throughout December 2023 at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
DDPP teamed up with Fort Stewart’s Army Substance Abuse Program to host a car, bike and slingshot show at the Paul R. Smith Army Education Center, Dec. 9, 2023 to raise awareness of resources available to Soldiers and their Families.
The DDPP is an organization dedicated to preventing drunk driving incidents among the ranks. This nationwide nonprofit organization is made up of volunteers who are committed to giving free rides to Soldiers and Families with valid Department of Defense identification cards.
“DDPP is anonymous for Soldiers who utilize this resource,” said Staff Sgt. Dallas Torbert, a medic assigned to 5th Squadron, 7th Calvary Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. “They don’t face any repercussions by using the program and aren’t asked or obligated to volunteer.”
The sole purpose of the DDPP is to ensure the safety and well-being of service members and their Families.
“The DUI board was being updated daily and it was discouraging to see Soldiers get stuck when there are programs and resources available to get them out,” said Torbert. “I saw the need for it here at Fort Stewart, so I opened the chapter in June of 2023.
“When the program began, we had an average of DUIs every 48 hours. Now, we have an average of every four to five days. That’s an astronomical change. We even had a 14-day streak of no DUIs.”
There is no tracking or reporting of the DDPP user’s information, which is used to locate and assist Soldiers. Information gathered is always kept private and confidential.
“I was a severe alcoholic and never knew about the program,” said Spc. Laila Temimi, assigned to 3rd Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd ABCT, 3rd ID. “There were times when I would be stuck at a bar or trying to figure out a way home. Now, I’ve been sober for six months and I’m trying to make an impact on other’s who struggle with alcoholism.”
Two drivers are assigned to each pickup location for safety and to drive vehicles to a person’s home. Volunteers also carry a breathalyzer to ensure drivers aren’t suffering from alcohol poisoning, which requires emergency assistance.
“I’ve had a couple of friends who are no longer with us due to drunk driving incidents,” said Sgt. Justin Ferguson, assigned to 703rd Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd ABCT, 3rd ID. “I’ve seen the impact that it can have on personnel in the community, so if I can give an option for Soldiers to be able to get home safely without causing damage to themselves or anyone else, I’m happy to be here for that.”
Soldiers interested in volunteering, can sign up online by filling out a driver waiver. Then, they will be contacted by the program and placed on a roster. At that point, volunteer Soldiers will be able to sign up for nights throughout the week that they are available to answer a call.
“This program has given me a sense of purpose,” added Ferguson. “I volunteer every weekend that I can. It’s fulfilling to be able to serve in this way and help other people.”
Soldiers and Families can sign up by visiting the website at https://www.ddpp.us. Then, they can either call the program’s dispatch line at (912) 200-7882 or use the free app to request assistance. The app sends their GPS location and makes an automatic call to volunteers on stand by.
“It’s getting close to Christmas and New Years,” said Ferguson. “There is also seasonal depression this time of year. It’s important to raise awareness because you never know who is going to go out and need a way back home.”
The DDPP volunteers at Fort Stewart advise Soldiers and Families to have a plan when going out, never to go out alone and to have someone they can call in case of an emergency. By taking responsibility for personal safety, incidents can be prevented and lives can be saved.
“Our people continue to be the centerpiece and top priority in the Army,” said Gen. Randy A. George, Army Chief of Staff. “Fatalities from automobiles and motorcycle mishaps are our worst enemy during off-duty periods. Enjoy your holiday season with family and friends and we look forward to all of you returning safely.”
|FORT STEWART, GA, US