Students Role in Combating Drunk Driving
Drinking and driving is a major epidemic that affects people of almost all ages. In severe instances, there are deaths involved when getting behind the wheel drunk. College students and high school students seem to be very susceptible to this problem, particularly due to peer pressure and their young age. There are many organizations working hard to combat this issue, and one of those is called SADD, or Students Against Drunk Driving. The organization was founded in 1981 and has since taken on a new name, Students Against Destructive Decisions. This group focuses on peer-to-peer encouragement to help educate students about drinking and driving and to help them understand the many dangers that go along with it.
SADD works with classrooms and peer groups and hosts conferences to help teach students about drunk driving. These discussions help to open up a dialogue about drinking and driving and show young people the many different serious repercussions it can entail. They want people to be able to make smarter choices when it comes to drinking and driving and encourage things like taking taxis home, using a designated driver, and staying in one location for the night if they choose to drink. The group has expanded their goals to also educate students about the dangers of drug use and abuse as well. The bottom line and end goal of SADD is to prevent jail time and deaths as a result of both drinking and drug use. The main purpose is to help ensure that everyone stays safe. At the high school level, it is important that teens have a positive influence to help them make smart decisions about drinking and driving.
As a student, if you would like to start a chapter of SADD at your school, talk to your friends and see who you can get to help you recruit members. Make it known to a teacher or other faculty member that you are interested in starting a local chapter. Then, determine which adult would be willing to be the official faculty adviser. This person must agree to attend all SADD meetings, sponsor related activities, and act as the middle person between the chapter and the school’s administrators. A form must be submitted to SADD International with the pertinent information so that your chapter can be registered. Once this is done, you’re encouraged to reach out to both your state and other local SADD chapters as well. You will receive valuable information to help you hold meetings and will be invited to the National Conference once your chapter has been registered. You can also keep in touch with SADD National to let them know about the work you’re doing at the local level in your school.
There are many different resources available to SADD chapters, including the official manual, which contains lots of valuable and helpful information and serves as a guide for your local group. SADD National has a website that also contains a lot of helpful tips, information, and dates to remember for meetings and conferences. There should also be state coordinators for your state, who can help to provide your local chapter with everything from flyers to potential financial aid to help you with your cause. Some members also become part of the Student Leadership Council. This is a group of 20 students from across the country who will serve as an ambassador and have a proven track record of promoting and working towards further education about drunk driving. Students can apply in the spring and should have their applications in by summer.
For more information about SADD and the work they do to help teach students about drunk driving, please refer to the following websites:
- SADD Mission and Policies
- Why Students Drink
- Article About SADD at Local School
- North Carolina SADD
- SADD Seeks to Help Fellow Students Handle High-Risk Situations
- Starting a SADD Chapter
- Student Columnist Gives Insider’s View of SADD
- What is SADD?
- Activities and Opportunities for Youth
- SADD Campaign Helping Decrease Drunken Driving
- The SADD Mission
- Glad to be SADD: Helping Others with Positive Peer Pressure
- SADD Club Helps Prevent Destructive Decisions
- SADD Helping to Combat Stereotypes and Destructive Decisions
- The SADD Contract for Life
- Monthly Activity and Campaign Guide
- Mobilizing the Community: Youth Taking the Lead
- SADD Teens Share a “Dose of Reality”
- Youth Peer-to-Peer Groups Influence Attitudes and Behaviors of Teenagers
- SADD: Pennsylvania DUI Association
- SADD: Charity Navigator
- The SADD Prom Promise (PDF)
- About SADD
- SADD’s Mission (video)
- SADD Students Work to Change Peers’ Attitudes (PDF)
By Ted Burgess