The Victim Impact Panel (VIP) is dedicated to reducing DUI (driving under the influence) related injuries and fatalities in Whatcom County. Speakers on the VIP share personal testimonies on how a DUI has impacted them, either personally or through the loss or injury of a family member or loved one. The VIP has had a long history of providing a powerful voice about the consequences of impaired driving. The panel exposes the harsh realities of impaired driving, and it creates an appreciation of the seriousness of driving while impaired.
Currently, VIP speakers help to deliver panels every 5 weeks. Panels typically consist of 2 or 3 speakers who, in a non-accusatory manner, describe the emotional, social, financial, and/or other effects a DUI tragedy has caused in their lives. Some speakers also choose to share their stories at schools and other community events.
The Whatcom County Health Department is continually looking for panelists. If you have been impacted by a DUI and are interested in speaking on the panel, please contact the Whatcom County Health Department at 360-778-6000.
Visitors Tell How Panels Affect Them
The following comments are from individuals attending DUI Victim Impact Panels across Washington State.
We don't have a death hanging over us:
"The impact of the panel is awesome. No one can feel the same as they felt when they walked in, when they walk out. We are the lucky ones, in that we don't have a death hanging over us."
An immense flow of emotion:
"I cannot critique such as immense flow of emotion that I can't even fathom. By the blood of my soul, I will not drink and drive, and I will fight with tooth and nail those who dare."
I used to think:
"As a 1st time offender of DWI, I used to think that the sentencing was too strict; now, I believe it is not strict enough."
A decision to take control:
"Thank you for caring. And, most of all, thank you for helping me make a decision in my life to take control of my own destiny."
"I am so totally overwhelmed by this that I cannot adequately put my feelings down on paper. Reality is really difficult to deal with. When I think of what I could have caused, I become very grateful and yet I know I didn't take the time to think things out. I really sincerely believe you have removed 1 more drinking driver from the roads."
A room so quiet:
"I have not sat in a room with this amount of people and had a room so quiet."
I don't want to tell a story like I've heard tonight:
"I sincerely hope that I do not have to ever sit up front like you people and tell a story like I've heard tonight."
Glad I was ordered by the Court to come:
"I was very deeply moved by this panel. I am truly glad I was ordered by the court to come here."
Scares the hell out of me: "I can honestly say that it scares the hell out of me to think I could inflict this pain on anyone. It will never happen again."