Teen Driving, Choices and Consequences

From Deputy Director Maria Almonte:

On Wednesday, February 4th, I attended a Youth Educating for Safety (YES) Conference, which focused largely on the Choices and Consequences program presented by the Kings County (Brooklyn) District Attorney. There were about 150 high school students in attendance, representing all five boroughs.

Choices and Consequences is a program developed in response to the deadly problems of reckless and drunk driving among teenagers. Across the country, nearly 6,000 teens die each year in motor vehicle crashes (Allstate Foundation Report on Teen Driving, 2005). Most of these deaths are preventable and many result in criminal prosecutions.

The interactive presentation was moderated by Gale Dampf, the Bureau Chief of Vehicular Crimes in Brooklyn. She, along with officers from the Brooklyn North Task Force and the Family Life Theatre, presented an educational, interactive and emotionally impactful program. It included multi-media clips, public service announcements and photos of young victims, and the crime/car crash scenes.

But the largest impact of the day by far was the presentation of three offenders who shared their stories with the audience. They discussed how bad choices like drinking and or reckless driving led them to experience and live out some hard consequences. One of the speakers, 26 years old, said to the group of students, "It’s been 8 years since my reckless driving resulted in someone’s death, and the nightmares never go away. I was just like you, in high school, driving alone with only a permit and that was the worst decision I ever made."

Here at Bronx Community Solutions we have been brainstorming with the Bronx Bureau Chief, Joseph McCormack, on ways to bring more awareness to the issue of driving under the influence and reckless driving. The plan is to host a special Law Day event in the spring, where the Choices and Consequences program can be presented to a few local Bronx high schools. Our hope is to increase awareness and encourage more youth to make the right choices when it comes to teen driving.

[Benjamin: For a little while I used to compile a feature on Streetsblog called "Weekly Carnage" that showed the terrible toll in deaths, injuries, and property damage caused by auto accidents - many the result of drunk or reckless driving - in our New York Metro area. Go here to view it.]

Comments

As the mother of a 15 year old who will be driving next year to statistics of teens involved in accidents in alarming. Hopefully hearing the stories of others will have an impact. Thanks for this post.
Concerned said…
I think a lot of the problem lies with the parents. We all remember being teens and the reckless behavior that often goes along with that period. Many parents trust that their child isn't going to behave recklessly as long there has been some kind of discussion regarding consequences and responsibilities. Unfortunately, that is often not the case. Teens are going to act like teens when mom and dad aren't watching. I heard about a sticker that parents can buy and place on their teen's car. Other drivers on the road can call and report the teen if he or she is driving unsafely. They monitor the teens' driving and notify the parents every time a report is filed. Here's the link: Alert My Parents.

Thanks for keeping this issue in the spotlight.
In regards to the "Alert My Parents" site - it looks very interesting, thanks for sharing.

Unfortunately, a recent incident on Staten Island (where a reckless driver with a supsended license killed an elderly couple in a hit and run), continues to bring reckless/drunk driving to the forefront here in New York.

While the most recent accidents have involved adults, there have been tons of fatal accidents that could've been avoided involving teens in New York this year - many on Long Island.

Here in the Bronx Courts, our organization now helps to oversee the screening/assessment and treatment (if mandated) of drunk drivers. It's disconcerting to see the volume of offenders, but it's comforting to know that they're being dealt with in the right manner after their arrest.