Project SAFER is a Ventura, California nonprofit organization focused on responsible alcohol service education. It started nearly a decade ago assessing if establishments were checking IDs and responsibly serving alcohol. The effort has since morphed and the organization now plays the roles of educator, consultant and promoter of responsible beverage service. One way this organization carries out its role is with its "Be the DD and Win!" designated driver campaign. "Be the DD" finds, acknowledges and rewards designated drivers for their commitment to sober driving. It partners with popular drinking spots including area bars, nightclubs, restaurants and special event organizers; other non-profit agencies; and law enforcement to share its campaign and purpose. It promotes when and where "Be the DD" will be via social media and then throughout the night, it rewards designated drivers (DDs) with promotional products and gifts. DDs are also entered into larger prize drawings for spa days, golf outings, boat rides and more. In the past four years, the organization has distributed more than 35,000 dollars in gifts and prizes to designated drivers.
The Ventura County Behavioral Health's alcohol and drug program provides funding for Project SAFER's programs but not for the promotional giveaways. The nonprofit received a one by oner grant from promotional products retailer 4imprintr and used it to purchase thumbs up key chain lights to recognize DDs for their commitment. "Something we're doing is working," said Project SAFER's Kim O'Neil. "In the four years we've been doing this campaign, DUI arrests have dropped 35 percent."