HANOVER TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The holiday season is about to get underway and many have plans to travel and celebrate, but one organization is reminding the community of the consequences if people make poor choices behind the wheel.

An overturned, smashed-up car on the lawn of Hanover Area High School. The jarring sight represents a strong, underlying message, don’t drink and drive.

“We want people to realize that holiday cheer doesn’t mix with holiday traffic,” said Stefanie Wolownik.

Stefanie Wolownik is with the Wyoming Valley Alcohol and Drug Services, promoting its “S.O.B.E.R. Campaign.”

The word “sober” is broken down and emphasized in its slogan “slow on the bottle, enjoy the road.”

The campaign visits schools to share the “sobering” statistics behind alcohol-related crashes, whether you’re behind the wheel or a passenger.

“Unfortunately, passengers get killed too in alcohol-related crashes. So being a responsible passenger, knowing that you’re with an impaired driver is an essential message to get to them too,” Wolownik explained.

Wolownik says in Luzerne County alone, the number of fatalities from alcohol-related crashes went from nine to 12 in 2021.

“That’s a 33-percent increase and again, it’s a little alarming. It’s sad, especially for those families because it doesn’t just affect the people that have passed, it affects their entire families and friends,” Wolownik told Eyewitness News.

The message is meant to resonate with young drivers that any time of the year, especially around the holidays drinking and driving don’t mix.

“Hopefully they’ll walk away with the message and they’ll spread that word. Not just to each other, but to family members,” Wolownik hoped.

Hanover Area High School students signed a pledge at the event, with a promise to not drink and drive.