Teens TAG Drunk Driving

The Staples prom is tomorrow (Saturday, June 2). Graduation follows quickly. Like teenagers everywhere, Westporters celebrate. They party. They drink.

TAG — Staples’ Teen Awareness Group — is not stupid. Members are students; they know their peers, and they know how to have a good time themselves.

But they want everyone to be around for years to come. And — more directly–  they want them at graduation.

To ensure that happens, TAG produced a video. Using real Westporters — ranging from high school students to Staples grads and parents — they describe what drunk driving did to friends and relatives.

And themselves.

The video is not easy to watch.

But neither are the results of drunk driving accidents.

39 responses to “Teens TAG Drunk Driving

  1. Marc Sholes

    Dan, thanks for posting this amazing video. As you know I had my own experience in Westport with a drunk drivers my years ago, that still affects me every day, thanks to all the people in that video for opening up in the effort of helping others!

  2. Mandatory viewing for anyone who applies for a driver’s license or for an extension of their existing license. Great job!

  3. While this article is somewhat dated (2004) it still holds true. Raise the friggin driving age and make the penalties stiffer. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A35079-2004Dec29.html

  4. Don Willmott

    When I think about the social events surrounding my Staples graduation in 1982, when the drinking age was 18, I realize that while much still needs to be done, much has already been accomplished. It seems amazing now that I watched so many seniors show up at Sherwood Island on senior skip day lugging huge bottles of vodka and gin, all legally purchased!

  5. Linda Smith

    Oh, thank you so much for including this year’s video by Jack Cramer! I was really impacted by the stories all five people were willing to share, even though the memories still hurt. I knew Dan Donovan’s parents and remember how hard Doug’s death was on the whole wonderful Donovan family. And I see that First County Bank paid for the video to be produced, so I’m grateful for their help. I’m going to share this video with others, Dan.

  6. Lower the Drinking Age back to 18………Raise the Driving Age to 21.

    • Amen. you could even argue to lower the drinking age for beer and wine to 16. Seems to work in Europe where kids are exposed to alcohol at a much younger ages and they are not able to drive until several year later.

      • Don Willmott

        Interesting idea, but given America’s (and Connecticut’s) post-war suburban sprawl, raising the driving age would be way too inconvenient. Europe is much more urbanized and has much better mass transit than we do.

        • No life saved is too inconvenient in my book.

          • Really, then why not ban drinking all together? Think of how many lives you will save. Why not ban cars while you are at it? More lives saved. Gets a bit silly doesn’t it ?

            • not really. last time we banned drinking it led to something called organized crime which of course incurred no loss of life. as someone has already posted there are alternatives to cars……

              • There are alternatives to drinking. I thought inconvenience is not an issue. There is no evidence that would enable you to conclude that prohibition cost more lives than drinking. Moreover, we know drinking costs lives, but we do not know that organized crime would recreate the conditions during prohibition. So, following your logic, no inconvenience is too great to save one life; ban drinking. We should ban driving as well; no inconvenience is too great. We should ban smoking all together; no inconvenience is too great. We should ban skiing; no inconvenience is too great. Sky diving? Get the picture?

        • Feet, Bicycles, Mopeds, Scooters, Mom’s Taxi work well.

  7. SafeRides of Westport

    Thank you for posting this fantastic video. So hard to watch these families be torn apart by the ramifications of drunk driving. As Dan Donovan said at the end of the video, we all hope that if kids have been drinking, they will call someone who hasn’t.
    SafeRides of Westport will be conducting our last training session for this school year on June 14th at 1 pm in the Faculty Dining Room at SHS. We welcome both adults and students who would like to volunteer to become a person kids can call for a safe ride home. Email questions to saferidesofwestport@gmail.com

  8. We were walking on myrtle avenue Monday at the Memorial Day Parade and my 14 year old son said ” that guys brother was killed in a drunk driving accident” – This video and the Grim Reaper awareness day has a huge impact on teens and the education starts early and continues all through high school in health class. This has made a difference!

  9. i totally agree with Wrecker….good solution. And if suburbia needs to implement better transit, so be it….Fewer cars on the road without that demographic & less gas used would turn out to be better for environment to boot. Seems like transportation problem could be figured out at a cost…but not at the cost of lives.

  10. Concerned parent

    Apparently one senior has not gotten the message. See: http://westport.dailyvoice.com/news/westport-teen-charged-dui?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

    • nice of you to “out” a westport kid

      • I completely agree with you, it’s not about pointing fingers. Seeing examples like this only makes kids realize how dumb drinking and driving is more. Think about how that kid feels next time you spread that around

    • it’s already in the police reports, why is it necessary to post that here? disrespectful and immature…..

      • because “concerned parent” is really “gossip parent”. wait till their kids are in the blotter……..”concerned parent” should be ashamed

    • i think it was really rude of you to publicly “out” this kid. i personally know him and he has learned from this and he is already embarrassed enough with out people like you posting it here. you are just a typical westport gossip

  11. zero tolerance

    Perhaps if all drunk drivers were “outed” and “disrespected” they might think twice about committing the act. Town tax delinquents are a matter of public record yet the newspaper, which reaches many more residents than this blog, lists them annually. I guess you’d like Concerned parent to apologize to the 18 year old because he drove drunk and put everyone in his path at risk. I would like to know who this student is so I can keep my kid away from him!

  12. Kerry Foley

    I, too, am thankful that Dan posted this video, because it’s something the whole community needed to see. Clearly, teens are not the only ones in this community drinking and driving. While it is true that there aren’t many convenient transportation alternatives here in the suburbs, there is always AN alternative. Hopefully this poignant video will make everyone think twice before getting behind the wheel after drinking. My heart goes out to all of the participants in the video who so bravely shared their stories with us.

  13. meredith cohen

    This is such a needed video. I watched, cried and will go to the safe rides of westport session to become a volunteer. Thank you for posting it Dan-
    meredith cohen

  14. Parent of teens

    Just had a talk with my staples freshman and couple of staples grads currently in college (who did not drink during HS though they stated with certainly that many many kids do drink and that parents look the other way – even saying to the kids that they are looking the other way) So sad to hear the drinking is part of the social scene freshman year (kids already “pre-gaming” it) and to learn that the perception of TAG is those are the kids who “are the worst” in terms of drinking – let’s hope that is not true, but, even if it is a perception, that’s a terrible problem in and of itself. Parents, teachers – wake up. Zero tolerance, please. Protect lives.

    • Truthful Wesporter

      To “Parent of teens”:
      TAG is a group of students who are highly respected in their community. They give back to their peers every day. All of them are responsible and mature. Some members choose to drink, many do not. They share stories about drinking to freshman health classes in order to raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol, and there is a common misconception that these stories are their own. They are not. You will not be accepted into TAG if you have poor judgement. It is a HIGHLY competitive organization to join, and all of the kids are incredibly responsible. To say such a thing about a group that does nothing but good is HORRIBLE. They are the ones that created this documentary, and they are the reason that drunk driving is viewed so negatively in Staples. You should be ashamed of yourself for spreading such an opinion. You seem to be just a parent looking for gossip.

      • PTA Parent

        I agree with “truthful westporter.” Kudos to TAG — they are a fantastic group of kids who I know have done a lot for Westport and beyond. I am familiar with the leaders of the group, and they are well-rounded, bright and smart individuals. They set a great example for their peers.

  15. Richard Lawrence Stein

    This video strikes to the heart. Unfortunately part of being a teen is the perceived notion that they are in vincible. The bigger issue is how do you implore kids to be responsible… During the early eighties there were several, yes several, incidents of drunk accidents that were fatal or injury inducing. How do we break this cycle that seems to not end.

    PS. To the person who outed the Staples Student… Everybody makes bad choices some greater than others… Some get caught and some don’t. Thankfully he caused damage to a car and no one else… Hopefully he will learn… But it was wrong and uncalled for, you did not need to post… Unless your life and child are perfect then stone throwing should be left to those at the beach.

  16. Graduated SHS in 1976. Drinking and drug use were common and popular. There was no telling me, or my friends not to do it. However, I can say the wisdom of age and my personal experiences will not allow me to condone such actions. Telling kids something compared to showing them,or experiencing are two different matters. If seeing the results this video portrays will cause one kid (or anyone) to think twice before driving intoxicated, then it is a success.

  17. I thought it was illegal in the state of Connecticut to drink if you are under 21. Let’s enforce the law. Arrest the students who drink and drive and let Concerned Parent “out” them.

    • If my child was arrested for being passed out drunk in a damaged car, after blacking out, I’d want them to be exposed and treated. This is not about protecting a kid (who is actually 18 and no longer a kid). Just look at the video where the girl who was hit by a drunk driver tells about her inability to drive at night or sleep, long after the incident. The kid in the news story should be forever grateful he didn’t hurt anyone.

  18. I think it’s amazing that after all of Staples watched the video, grim reaper day proceeded, seniors just signed “contracts” vowing not to drink and drive for today’s prom, and Mr. Dodig has sent out countless reminders about this issue, this incident with a senior happens a few days later. The referenced news story reminds me of the 26 year old girl in the video. Thankfully she seems to have turned things around. Sadly, teenage alcoholism isn’t easy to tackle and often times leads to bigger problems (as per Joseph Califano’s lecture a few years ago).

    • They vowed to not drink and drive; drinking under the age of 21 is illegal. So, are they vowing to not do something that is illegal or are the vowing to not drive after they have done something that is illegal? Underage drinkers should be arrested as should those who supplied them with the alchohol.

  19. Jack Whittle

    I knew two of the men mentioned in the video – and sincerely thank all of those who participated in creating and sharing it. I too was young once (in Staples actually) and agree that no one could simply tell me to not behave like I was with any real affect on my behavior – but this video, with personal experiences involving Staples’ alumnus, is the sort of thing that has the best chance of getting through.

  20. what a powerful video, kudos to TAG, the director of the vid and the participants who so bravely told their stories. i love you and miss you dougie…