Billie Phelps' nephew died in a car accident involving drunken driving on Father's Day in 1996. This year she was at the University of Alaska Anchorage Campus Center running a booth for the local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Oct. 17 was Drug and Alcohol Awareness Day, and organizations gathered to teach students about the dangers of drunken driving.
Phelps is a retired nurse working for MADD.
“I strongly feel their message is vital to reduce deaths, particularly with young people,” said Phelps.
The mission of MADD is to stop drunken driving, support victims and prevent underage drinking, according to a pamphlet Phelps was giving away.
A colorful display of pamphlets and literature containing statistics, advice and consequences of drunken driving were available at every booth. The UAA Student Health Center, Golden Key Honor Society, MADD and Akeela, Inc. also participated in the fair.
Phelps says she hopes people plan ahead for the evening if they plan to drink, especially young people. She says their lack of driving experience compounded with the use of alcohol puts them more at risk.
Phelps says a first offense for drunken driving could cost $3,000 to $5,000 in fines and traffic tickets.
“I personally looked into it, and it only costs about $10 to $15 to take a cab in Anchorage from downtown to Hillside,” Phelps said. “Or, it costs $100 to $110 to take a cab from Anchorage to Palmer.”