An area police department is using social media in a unique way to discourage impaired driving. Instead of officers doing the talking, it’s people in the community do that for them.

How has your life been impacted by drinking and driving? That’s a question officers with the Joplin Police Department are asking residents to answer on the department’s Facebook page. And Captain Trevor Duncan says some of the responses are nothing short of tragic.

“This is a little more impactful because people are seeing people they know in the community, friends they know that maybe they didn’t even know these stories were in their lives and now they are clicking on there and seeing that people, all kinds of people affected or have been affected by impaired driving. And unfortunately a lot of the stories are rather sad cause that’s what impaired driving can do,” says Captain Duncan.

In order to see some of the posts, just go to the department’s Facebook page and scroll down till you see this section. But Duncan warns it’s not an easy read. 

“And we really didn’t know what kind of feedback we would get, it’s really the first time we’ve ever done something like that on our page and just from the comments so far, within a week we’re pretty surprised how many people were willing to come share the details of bad times in their lives,” says Duncan.

It’s all part of a 15 month long program aimed at trying to keep impaired drivers off the road. The program is being funded by a grant from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. Arthur Wilder agrees with the concept behind campaign and says many people don’t even consider that family members aren’t the only ones affected by vehicular tragedy.

“I think it’s very important because when the police officers go out to these automobile accidents and they’re alcohol related and you see a young teenager laying there that’s that’s expired it affects then as well as it does us and the families,” says Wilder.