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Local Organization Aims to Prevent Drunk Driving Among Teenagers

WEST MONROE - According to West Monroe police, drunk driving arrests were much lower during Mardi Gras weekend than anticipated. However, police say drunk driving is still a major issue. 

Drunk driving has impacted the lives of many. For Bill Baldridge, a fatal drunk driving car accident has shaped the rest of his life.

Twenty years ago, he was out drinking with two friends and was a passenger in a fatal car accident on the way home.

Both of his friends lost their lives and the accident took his legs. Today, he spends most of his time talking to teenagers about making responsible decisions. 

"I was in the hospital for 22 months. I lost my foot and my left leg and I've been disabled for the rest of my life for that one decision," Baldridge said. " I want our kids to know that our decisions will affect us for the rest of our lives."

Starting his organization "You Are Worth It" inspired him to walk for the first time in almost 20 years. 

"I do believe that it's my purpose to share my story," Baldridge said. "I don't want anyone else to go what I've been through."

"You Are Worth It" focuses on teaching teenagers to recognize the value of their lives. Baldridge says that he wanted his program to approach the issue of drunk driving realistically. Instead of telling young people that their only option is to avoid drinking, the program focuses on having a plan for getting home before going out. 

According to attorney Malcolm DeCelle, lax Lousisiana laws do little to deter drunk drivers. 

"It's not serious enough that people won't drink because of the possiblilty of DWI," DeCelle said. "They're careless, they go out and they forget."

If you would like to learn more about "You Are Worth It," visit their Facebook page. 

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