From a small association to Don't Drunk Drive Foundation : Another roles of a group who cares of our society
Back into 1995, Research & Planning division, Thai Royal Police department (previously named) declared the number of injured and casulties which are 50,718 and 16,727 respectively. More than 60% of those amount were from getting drunk and driving. However, there was no such an organization who had a direct responsibility on this while the news related to this issue was not widely spread out. As a result, doctor was the group needed to carry this responsibility because there was an average of 6 persons/hour who got injured from vehicle accident. Furthermore, doctors were not able to help at a rate of 2 persons/hour. From the above fact, Thais casualty from vehicle accident was higher than that of the number of casualty at Gulf war.
Dr.Witoon Saengsingkaew, Permanenet Secretary of Ministry of Public Health (at that moment) and a Senator thought that if this kind of problem still persisted, there would definitely have a huge number of casulties. He therefore assigned Dr. Taejing Siripanich, Director of Accident and Relief Institution, Department of Medical Services, Ministry of Public Health (at that mement) to set up an implementation campaign to reduce the number of accident from drinking and driving. The first target group was aimed at the Press and actors/actresses. Initially setting up a seminar called 'Roles & Responsibilities of the Press and Stars in solving drinking and driving issue' at Nikko Mahanakorn hotel on Rajchadaphisek rd., Bangkok. Moreover, Dr.Witoon also suggested Dr. Taejing to setup an organization encouraging drinking not driving campaign and to contact a famous, well known person to become a president who was Mr. Damrong Puttarn - Mass communicator and Senator. However, he was reluctant as he was afraid this project would not be lasted long and would finally collapse as same as any other projects. However, Mr. Damrong, 20 years ago once a news reporter for Olympic games in Los Angeles, USA, still recognized the news related to one US women who had lost her daughter from drinking and driving and she asked US citizens to pay attention on this problem. Moreover, he has heard about information related to great number of injuries and casulties that was disclosed by Dr. Taejing. Mr.Damrong finally accepted the position, but still thinking about the name of the organization.
After several meetings, there was a conclusion to name 'New generation does not drive when drinking' and setting up the first formal meeting at Nikko Mahanakorn hotel on July 11, 1996. Members comprised of bureaucratic, soldier, police, the press, as well as ordinary people, and they selected Mr.Damrong as a President and Dr. Taejing as a Secretary. However, the name of the organization was not yet finalized and the committee would like to encourage other people to get involve more on this. So they setup a name and logo contest with the support from Khun Somporn Vejvanich for THB 6,000 as a reward for the winner. There were totally 482 names proposed, and the winner was Khun Piyapong Kongprapun receiving cash for THB 3,000; Second winner was Khun Niramol Wiengsarawan receiving cash for THB 2,000; Third winner was Khun Supakorn Wasutarn receiving the rest cash at THB 1,000. As a result, the name of the organization has been changed to 'Don't Drive Drunk' located at Sirindhorn bldg., 13th fl., Rajvithi hospital, Rajthevee, Bangkok 10400 with the great support from Accident and Relief Institution. There was a seminar about 'Solving vehicle accident causing by Alcohol' on March 22, 1997 at Nikko Mahanakorn hotel where General Samart Sodsatit, a commissioner, was the President. The seminar was interesting and there also was an experience sharing session about vehicle accident leaded by Prof. Surawong Wattanakul, Col.Dr.Vatanyoo Pradyanont, Khun Piyarat Thongpiyalert, Prof.Anuwat Teatrakul, and Police Captain Chalern Yoobumrung - Deputy Minister of Interior (at that moment) conducting a seminar about 'Suppressing drinking and driving policy'.
On April 1, 1997, Khun Damrong Puttarn - Don't Drunk Drive President, invited the committee to make a conclusion from the seminar how to solve vehicle accident from drinking persons at Narendhorn meeting room, Rajvithi hospital, and set the objectives of the organization as follows;
- 1) Encourage Thais about the danger of drinking and driving
- 2) Encourage Thai police to strictly enforce the drinking and driving law (which they started around December 1996)
- 3) Support to have an associate to encourage others not to drinking and driving
- 4) Encourage to adjust the laws, both direct and indirect, related to drinking and driving
In 1999, Khun Anand Bussuwan kindly offered the office to the organization located at 1/174-177 Soi Chengwattana 14, Chaengwattana rd., Laksi, Bangkok 10120. In 2001, the office had moved to 99/349 Na Nakorn bldg., 5th floor, Chaengwattana rd., Laksi, Bangkok 10120. On February 6, 2002, at Rodkaseart restaurant, Khun Damrong Puttarn - Don't Drunk Drive President, invited the committee to have a meeting about organization registered as the organization conducted and released many activities for the last 7 years as well as aiming the organization to be sustainable. As a result, the committee had unanimously vote to make a registration to be 'Don't drive drunk foundation' and assigned Khun Susit Sinlapagam to be a Manager and coordinated with Ministry of Culture to establish the foundation. It was finally get a permission to be a foundation on September 6, 2002. In July 2003, the foundation has been moved to 28/12 Soi Sukhumvit 19, Sukhunvit rd., North Khlong Toey, Wattana, Bangkok 10110 where owned by Khun Damrong Puttarn who is generously offered to be a permanent office.
Moreover, lots of students ranging from Bachelor to Doctoral level who were interested in and requesting for information especially how to get success in spreading out the campaign which everyone knows about. The critical success factor was the key word 'Don't drunk drive' which was later widely spread out in our society without investing in any ads, but asking for cooperation to publicize the activities of our foundation instead. Furthermore, the long lasting public relations method was using a sticker. The foundation also asked any other organization about sticker preparation and distributed to citizens. There are currently at least 3 million people that posted this sticker on their cars. This information shown a consistency with the survey from 4x4 Family game asking a question 'what is the most popular statement posting on the cars?' while the answer was 'Don't drunk drive'. Furthermore, the foundation also extended to any other associate such as cab drivers who offer send the drinking person back home, Drinking and driving victims, SADD students, any other public transporation drivers, motorbikes, etc. There were also publicize to the Press which was further spread out in many tv shows such as Jor-Jai (channel 5), Safety talk (channel 5), Twilight show (channel 3 - at that moment), Millionaire game (channel 3 - at that moment), News (channel 7,9, and 11); via radio such as Royal Thai Army radio, Sor Wor Por 91, Jor-Sor 100, Ruam duay Chuay Gun; and via newspaper such as Thairath, DailyNews, Matichon, KaoSod, The Nation, Bangkok Post, BanMuang, Thai Post, etc.
Eventhough the Don't drunk drive campaign was highly success, but some drivers' behavior remain unchanged, and also believed that drinking and driving is not danger. Hence, it is the primary objectives of Don't drunk drive foundation to conduct an awareness refusing to travel with drinking persons for the purpose of avoiding the number of injuries and casualties. Strategically, Don't drunk drive foundation would be the center of cooperation with any other associates to encourage in reducing drinking and driving which is a major caused of vehicle accident.