South County Safe-Rides, a student-run program aimed at combatting teen-age drinking and driving, will be launched next month at Capistrano by the Sea Hospital in Dana Point. Established and maintained under the auspices of the Exploring Division of the Boy Scouts of America, the program provides safe and confidential rides home to fellow students who have been drinking or riding with someone who has.
Safe-Rides in no way advocates teen-age alcohol consumption, its sponsors stress, but it is aimed at reducing tragedies because of drunk driving, according to Hal Day, chief executive officer of the hospital.
Beginning Feb. 3, Capistrano by the Sea will be the base of operations for Safe-Rides every Friday and Saturday night from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. "Adult volunteers who have completed a training session are on site to oversee the activities," Day said
Students on each participating high school campus have formed a Safe-Rides club to inform other students about the dangers of alcohol and other substance abuse.
"It is this positive peer pressure that makes it easier for a teen-ager to refuse a drink or avoid riding with someone who has been drinking, without fear of criticism," Day added.
Students at San Clemente, Dana Hills and St. Margaret high schools have begun a mass distribution of wallet-size cards and key chains with the South County Safe-Rides phone number--(714) 83-ALIVE.
Teen-age and adult volunteers are prepared for duty by having completed a 4-hour training program directed by the Boy Scouts, which includes cardiopulmonary resuscitation training, emergency procedures, alcohol awareness and communication skills. An emphasis on confidentiality is designed to ensure the trust of fellow students.
One of more than 650 such programs established nationwide by the Boy Scouts, the South County Safe-Rides actually began 10 months ago at San Clemente High School.
Capistrano by the Sea Hospital is an inpatient psychiatric hospital affiliated with the UC Irvine College of Medicine.
Other Orange County high schools with exploring posts and their Safe-Rides phone numbers: Brea-Olinda (714) 528-0427; Connelly, Rosary and Servite (714) 774-2020; Foothill (714) 730-7508; Huntington Beach (714) 847-RIDE; Irvine, University and Woodbridge (714) 551-3377; Laguna Beach (714) 497-3333; La Habra (213) 691-2413; Los Alamitos (213) 596-4747; Mission Viejo and El Toro (714) 770-3771; Villa Park (714) 567-3055, and Westminster (714) 730-7508.
For further information about Safe-Rides, call the Orange County Council Inc. of Boy Scouts of America at (714) 546-4990.