‘Road Radio’ delivers message for 25 years on consequences of underage drinking
MUNCY – On June 28th members of the First United Methodist Church in Muncy received a visual impact on the education and perils of driving under the influence of intoxicants. Muncy native Jim Mothersbaugh presented a first class video “ROAD RADIO USA” using dramatic effects such as fantastic, bursting lights, lasers, upbeat music, authentic voiceovers and even a fog machine while engaging the audience on the dangers and consequences of distracted driving.
Mothersbaugh himself suffered from a severe automobile accident his senior year, just short of graduation from Muncy High School while riding in a car with other students under the influence of alcohol.
Providing facts and statistics, Mothersbaugh relates his message to a targeted audience, mostly teenagers through various venues, but especially high schools, the Job Corp and youth church organizations. He started his show, using the format of radio personalities, to express a much needed message around the state. He has been able to use grants and sponsor funding to keep his subject matter current. “I make updates all the time,” he said and uses the help of professional DJ’s and videographers. “I average five to six shows a month,” Mothersbaugh said. Andy Keister from Lewisburg, brings in the music production using updated technology with sound and lighting effects. “He has been with me since 1995,” added Mothersbaugh, “and he really stepped it up with his music.”
Another team member, Bryan Carey who has been with Jim for the past three years, produces the videography with edited updates and schedules the shows for Mothersbaugh to “make it state of the art.”
Mothersbaugh covers it all, with interviews on impaired driving, alcohol abuse, and the underage drinking laws in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. “Think of consequences first,” he tells his audience.
His statistics are alarming, and always current. He describes the ‘Social Host Law’ (furnishing alcohol to minors), offenses and fines to pay. Distracted driving, texting, and “teens can be penalized as an adult,” he warns. That includes 4-wheelers, road bikes, and dirt bikes.
Towards the end of the video presentation, a mother’s voice comes on the air to relate her experience of when her son was life-lined to Geisinger Hospital. “My son was laid on a gurney, his head all swollen. The doctors did not expect him to live through the night. Already one had died, the driver, two were injured, and my son was in a coma. He lost over 50 units of blood…”
That mother was Betsy Mothersbaugh of Muncy. The year was 1983.
Jim was not able to graduate that year, but he did graduate the following year in ’84 from Muncy High School. “I graduated in a wheel chair and a body cast,” said Jim Mothersbaugh. “I made a stupid choice,” he added, “never thinking anything could happen. We had a stupid sense of vulnerability, and because of those attitudes, it nearly killed me.” A good friend of his was killed, and the car accident happened 3 months before graduation, all because of alcohol. He lost his best friend, Rick Mays, and this prompted Jim to send out the message of the dangerous consequences of driving while intoxicated. He started in 1992 with stand up presentations and developed it further with a radio show that he has been doing for the past 25 years.
Mothersbaugh told his audience he still suffers from that time, mostly neurological issues. “I was on a breathing machine taking 15 pills a day,” he related. “I haven’t been able to drive for the past ten years, mostly due to seizures.”
“My son is a miracle,” Betsy said. “For weeks he couldn’t move his head.”
Jim is now married, and has a son and daughter who support his message. They are currently working on PSA’s for opioid and heroin addiction. He said more programs are needed for treatment and he and his team are opening a prison diversion program that is highly structured to combat addictions. Patrice Bond of Montgomery agrees more treatment programs are needed, rather than incarceration. “The answer is not to put an addict in person,” she said and spoke of her son who is struggling with addiction.
More sponsors, monetary funding and grants are needed to continue the message. To help, Mothersbaugh can be contacted at 570-337-2306.