Drunk & Reckless Driving Prevention
District Attorney Madeline Singas is bringing the message about driving safety to Nassau County’s High Schools. The Choices and Consequences program is an interactive high school presentation designed to combat drunk, drugged and reckless driving. The District Attorney's goal is to reduce injuries and deaths in this most vulnerable age group. Traffic crashes are the number one cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 24.
About the program
The 90-minute program is based on a "reality TV" model that relies on real cases, real evidence and real people from cases to break through natural teenage invincibility to teach life-saving lessons. The program is divided into 3 segments:
- The first segment educates the students about criminal law, the social host law, safe driving techniques, toxicology and licensing issues using real cases and real evidence.
- The second segment consists of a skit where student volunteers re-enact a driving situation in which passengers encourage the driver to drink and engage in other reckless driving. A Nassau County Police Officer responds to the scene of the “crash” and explains the police procedures and the tests conducted. The student “driver” performs coordination tests wearing “Fatal Vision” goggles which simulate intoxication. At the conclusion students are informed the skit is based on a real case in which the driver’s cousin was killed as a result of the crash and the fact he had not been wearing a seat belt.
- The final segment is the most powerful. Young DWI and driving crime defendants are sentenced to speak at the programs as part of their community service. DA Singas believes that the experience for the young defendants and the audience presents a “win/win” situation. The defendant faces the reality of what they have done each time they share their story. And hopefully the student audience identifies with the speaker and realizes how easily they could make these mistakes. Victims or their families also explain the heartache they have suffered at the hands of drunk or reckless drivers.
The Message: Make a Plan Now
Take extra money for a cab. Arrange a contract for safety (PDF) with a parent or trusted family member Come up with the “line” to use with dangerous friends to stay out of the car.
The Choices and Consequences Program has been presented more than 100 times to over 20,000 participants. If even one student changes his or her behavior or gets out of an unsafe car than the program has been a success.
For more information or to schedule a Choices and Consequences presentation please email Nicole L'Hommedieu, Program Administrator.
The Vehicular Crimes Bureau
District Attorney Madeline Singas started the first Vehicular Crimes Bureau on Long Island to effectively prosecute these serious cases. The bureau brings together a staff with training and expertise in this important area of criminal law. As a result we have increased the number of trials and convictions and held more drivers accountable for their dangerous decisions. The Choices and Consequences Program is a product of the Vehicular Crimes Bureau because tougher policies alone will not put an end to the devastating effects of drunk, drugged and reckless driving. As a community we need to change the way we think about driving. Choices and Consequences is one step toward changing the culture that permits these violent crimes to continue.
- Alateen - A recovery program for young people, adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous
- Online Al-Anon Outreach - Online al-anon meetings
- Alcoholics Anonymous
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - All traffic safety info regarding motor vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, etc. includes federal laws and programs to prevent drunk driving
- New York State Department of Motor Vehicles - All info regarding driving and registering vehicles in New York State including graduated licensing laws and point violation system
- United States Department of Transportation - Information on trains, planes and automobiles, including press releases, funding, projects and PI&E
- SafeNY - The Governor's Traffic Safety Committee website. All local contacts in New York State including traffic safety boards, programs and links to other sites