AngelaHuston@zoominternet.net   CRHuston@zoominternet.net

The Laurel Square Shopping Plaza on Pearl Road in Brunswick was a sea of cars August 10 when the Medina County Safe Communities Coaliton Members and local Fire and Law Enforcement joined forces to help kick off the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" awareness campaign, in effect from August 14 to September 2.

This was the 17th year for the annual combined Cops 'n Rodders Car Show and Cruise-In event that reminds people "there is never an excuse to drink and drive." Mixed in with the show vehicles were fire and police vehicles where law enforcement and safety representatives helped to deliver the drunk driving message.

The Coalition is a collaboration of law enforcement, healthcare agencies, fire departments, non-profit agencies, the media, school districts, and local businesses whose mission is "to save lives and reduce injuries on Medina County roads and highways."

This joint effort between the Coalition and local law enforcement is designed to send a strong message to the community: "DRIVE SOBER OR GET PULLED OVER."

Safe Communities Project Director Jessica Miles said, "Drunk driving, one of the deadliest and most often committed, yet preventable crimes has become a serious safety epidemic in our country."

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers. On average, more than 10,000 people have died each year in drunk-driving crashes.

The entertaining Cruise-In event at Laurel square, where responsible car owners/drivers share their well-cared-for vehicles for all to see, is an excellent way to remind people to be more mindful on the roadways.

The highly polished, beautifully restored and maintained cars of every variety drew an enthusiastic crowd on what was a perfect summer evening. Among the hundreds of attractions being driven in to take a spot at the event were vintage models from the '30s to more current sporty classics like Corvettes and Cobras. There were convertibles and pick-up trucks, sedans and coupes, family cars and racing cars; the array was a car-lover's dream.

One owner, Bud Laird, was eager to show and talk about his '53 Buick Roadmaster, a two-toned, mint condition beauty that has one of the first V-8 engines to be put into those cars.

Laird is among the many who show up at Laurel Square each weekend, weather permitting (the first hint of a cloud sends everyone home to protect their cars). It is truly an evening of sharing, comparing, and just appreciating each other's cars.

People strolled around admiring the prized cars, listened to some wonderful, almost-vintage music, had refreshments, and most of all shared in helping to deliver the safety message. The car show and cruise-in were sponsored by Medina County Safe Communities Coalition Members and Brunswick Family Restaurant.

The Coalition, a community based program designed to promote safe driving practices and create awareness and prevention of injuries caused by death, is funded by the Ohio Department of Public Safety, the Ohio Traffic Safety Office, and the National Traffic and Highway Safety Administration. Its objective is "to promote community-based solutions to address transportation safety and other injury problems."

For further information about the Coalition please call 330-723-9688, option 2.