[October 2017] TAG conveys dangers of distracted driving

Maya Brodows ’20

On Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, The Teen Awareness Group (TAG) attempted to make a life-long impact on Staples students. The organization hosted its annual distracted driving presentation on the Staples football field.

Students, Westport police and other members of the community came together at the event to participate in a variety of activities. Participants wore alcohol impairment simulation goggles (a.k.a. “drunk goggles,” which impair sight to simulate what it might feel like to be drunk) while attempting to perform a handful of tasks such as catching tennis balls and driving a golf cart around cones.

“The main goal of the event is to help students realize the harmful effects of drunk driving and how they are uncontrollable by any person no matter how old or ‘experienced’ they may be,” Mia Kobylinski ’19, a member of TAG, said.
Another key aspect of the event is getting to know local policemen in a casual situation.

“Most participants, kids and officers, leave the event feeling like they have gotten to know each other, which builds community and understanding between both parties,” Elaine Daignault, the co-advisor to TAG and the Director of Human Services for Westport, said.

Alcohol-related car crashes accounted for 10,265 deaths in 2015. Although this number is decreasing, TAG hopes to spread awareness of the issue to prevent numbers from going back up.
“We have reached out to different groups in the school and community to involve more types of people and students, expanding our audience and reaching more people than ever before,” Kobylinski said.

The event emphasized how dangerous distracted driving is not only for the driver, but for anyone else on the road as well.
“It’s important to teach students these lessons because a lot of people have the mindset of ‘this won’t happen to me.’ But if they hear a scary enough story or see how dangerous it is, then they will stop,” Taylor Rochlin ’18, a member of TAG, said.

Jake Glickman ’20 said he never could imagine what driving intoxicated would be like until he tried on a pair of drunk goggles in an eighth grade health class.

“I couldn’t catch a ball, so I can only imagine what driving would be like,” Glickman said.

Glickman’s realization is exactly why TAG’s distracted driving event is an annual occurrence: to remind people of the dangers of distracted driving.

“One bad decision affects not only your life, but other innocent people as well,” Ali Green ’20, a member of TAG, said. “TAG hopes to prevent students from making that one fatal mistake.”