The Drive Safe White Ribbon Campaign began in 1997 in response to concerns over the large number of local teenagers who lost their lives in vehicular collisions as a result of a bad decision to drive recklessly or while impaired. The Class of 2003 White Ribbon card listed 17 students killed since 1998. This year’s Class of 2017 card lists the names of seven teens killed since 2011: Sarah Alarid, Albert B. Castro, Dakota Demott, Nicole Lynn Hoffman, Madeline “Mads” Rossiter, Wyatt Anthony Savaikie and Jennifer Stift.
Prior to graduation ceremonies each year, a Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Deputy visits local high school senior class assemblies and distributes white ribbons attached to cards listing the names of Santa Clarita Valley youth ages 14 to 20 killed in traffic collisions. White Ribbon Week this year is May 22 to June 5.
Teens are asked to wear the ribbons during their graduation ceremonies in memory of those who have lost their lives. The ribbons also provide a drive safe message in hopes of encouraging students to have fun during their celebrations without engaging in high-risk activities, such as impaired driving, to prevent any further traffic collisions.
“The White Ribbon campaign is about encouraging high school seniors to drive safe during graduation week,” law enforcement officials said. “We want to educate students about safe driving and avoiding distractions such as cell phones or driving while impaired.
“We’re asking the students to wear the white ribbon on their gown during graduation not only to show respect for the fallen, but to remember to make smart choices during graduation time. This can be a dangerous time in a teenager’s life because of being fatigued from studying for finals and celebrating their accomplishments.”
Local residents are also encouraged to wear white ribbons and show their support. Free white ribbons can be picked up at the following sponsor locations: Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Gift Shop, Frontier Toyota and Santa Clarita City Hall. Other sponsors of the Drive Safe White Ribbon Campaign include the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Safe Rides. For more information, please call 661.200.1306.