Drinking & Driving

Death rides the highway when drink takes the wheel! South Carolina is the second worst state in the nation for drinking-related fatalities per capita (10.5 alcohol-related fatalities per 100,000 people).

According to Learn-About-Alcoholism.com

Montana is the worst (10.9 per capita). It was also mentioned that every day an average of 11,318 teens try alcohol for the first time. Anwsers.com adds that drinking and driving causes over 25,000 deaths a year. It has been said that one out of every 10 drivers is a drunk driver! It is known that most of the fatal drinking and driving crashes occur late at night and early morning hours.

Although our country declared war on illegal drugs, it allows massive promotion and glorification of another drug called alcohol. The alcohol industry yearly spends some $2 billion in promoting and marketing its product through advertising. Wikipedia declares that 45 percent of the commercials that young people view each year are advertisements for alcohol. It also reveals that the beer brewing industry spent more than $770 million on television ads and $15 million on radio ads in 2000. Drinking seems to be portrayed as what makes things fun, exciting and worthwhile!

Results of studies are shared in the First Eagle website. For example, every 22 minutes someone dies in an alcohol-related motor vehicle crash.

Sixty percent of all teen deaths in car crashes are alcohol-related. During weekends one in 10 drivers has been drinking. Cars and bars can mean stars and scars!

Four quick drinks usually results in an illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The liver handles one drink per hour, so there are times drinkers need to “BAC” off! Only time will lower the amount of alcohol in blood.

Some safe driving strategies to be considered are: Blow your horn before passing a driver whose vehicle is drifting — if the driver then drifts more, assume the driver is intoxicated and don’t pass. Expect intoxicated drivers to make erratic maneuvers — especially during late hours. If a DUI driver is following you, consider turning off at the next street or driveway — don’t pull off to the side of the road since such drivers are drawn to lights of stopped vehicles.

Drinking can be deceptive — “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1). Be sure to overcome the downward steps of drinking that can happen: Descend, Deception, Despair, Disgrace, Disease and Death.

National Disaster? 3 Mile Island — no deaths. Alcohol — over 561 deaths a day (P.A.P.A., Inc.). Why doesn’t our country wake up to this tragic problem and take measures against it like they have with the tobacco industry? Statistics show that thousands are killed by intoxicating liquor while only one is killed by a mad dog; yet we shoot the dog and license the liquor!

Joe Sabbadino
SCDTSEA Public Relations
Driving Educator

Some Driving Education Tips

  1. Work on your attitude — it is more than 50% of what makes a top-notch driver — prefer others, be quick to back down, etc.

    “There is very little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.” – Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone.

  2. Buckle up before starting up! Every 12 seconds someone is injured in a vehicle crash (GEICO). The seat belt is your brake if the vehicle’s brakes don’t stop the vehicle — without the seat belt you will crash into the vehicle at the same speed the vehicle crashes into an object. The seat belt will also prevent your body organs from hitting ribs, skull, etc.! Realize that a crash at 55 miles per hour is like falling from a 15 story building! If there is to be a collision, hit something that will give since the force of impact varies inversely with the distance it takes a vehicle to stop — the greater the distance in stopping after you hit something, the less is the force of impact.

    Buckle up! Seat belts save face!
    Seat belts keep you hanging in there so you can regain control!
    If you care for your passengers, “belt” them!

  3. Be a defensive driver, not an offensive driver! To do this, allow at least a two second following distance (reaction time) between the vehicle in front of you (stopping distance would be four seconds). Look as far as you can see, keep your eyes moving, and expect the unexpected!

    Stay unhurt — drive alert!
    It is better to blow your horn than hear the crash!
    A defensive driver obeys the rules of the road and is alert enough to dodge those who don’t!
    Drive your vehicle as if your family was in the other vehicle!
    Remember it’s not only the car that can be recalled by it’s maker!
    Make defensive driving first and make defensive driving last!

  4. Don’t call while you drive! Talking on a cell phone while driving increases the chance of an accident by 400%! (GEICO) Pull off of the road and then enjoy calling and talking!
  5. Stay out of the no-zone of big trucks. If you can’t see the truck’s side mirrors, the trucker can’t see you.
  6. Consider leaving your headlights on during the daytime. It helps others to see you and reduces accidents by 30% (GEICO).
  7. Steer clear of road rage. South Carolina was second in the nation with the most road rage incidents!
    Remember that “anger” is one letter short of “danger”! “He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly…” (Proverbs 14:17).
    Be strong enough to control your anger instead of letting it control you. “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city” (Proverbs 16:32).
    If a person is upset, try to avoid eye contact and remember that “…grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).

    Anger at an injury causes more injury than the injury itself.
    An angry man is seldom reasonable; a reasonable man is seldom angry.
    Anger is a wind which blows out the lamp of the mind.
    Fly into a rage only at the risk of making a bad landing.
    Anger is a state that starts with madness and ends with regret.

  8. Try not to make up time on the road. Fast driving often causes fast dying! Some motorists are in such a hurry to get into the next town that they go right on into the next world! Better step on the brake and be laughed at than tromp on the gas and be cried over!
  9. Drive with care. Life has no spare.

    Safe driving is no accident.

    In football a safety means two points. In driving, safety means your life. – Captain Billy Fallaw.

    Driving is like baseball. It’s the number of times you reach home safely that counts.

    In basketball your goal is to score and in driving your goal is to arrive alive. – Donny Harrison.

    Safe driving will keep your car out of the junkyard and your body out of the graveyard.

    Joe Sabbadino
    SCDTSEA Public Relations
    Driving Educator

Drivers Explain How They Saw Accidents

The following are explanations for various automobile accidents which were taken from insurance claim forms by Tilden Ltd., Canada’s for – most car rental agency:

  • Coming home, I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I don’t have.
  • A truck backed through my windshield into my wife’s face.
  • The guy was all over the road. I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.
  • In my attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole.
  • The gentleman behind me struck me on the backside. He then went to rest in the bush with just his rear end showing.
  • I told the police I was not injured, but on removing my hat I found I had a fractured skull.
  • I was sure the old fellow would never make it to the other side of the road when I struck him.
  • When I saw that I could not avoid a collision, I stepped on the gas and subsequently crashed into the other car.
  • I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law in the other seat and headed over the embankment.
  • I had been driving my car for 40 years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an accident.
  • To avoid hitting the bumper of the car in front, I struck the pedestrian.
  • I first saw the slow-moving, sad-faced old gentleman when he bounced off the hood of my car.
  • The accident happened when the right front door of a car came around the corner without giving any signal.
  • The telephone pole was approaching fast. I was attempting to swerve out of its way when it struck my front end.
  • A pedestrian I did not see, hit me then went sliding under my car.
  • The pedestrian had no idea which direction to go, so I ran over him.
  • The accident occurred when I was attempting to bring my car out of a skid by steering it into the other vehicle.
  • An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my vehicle, and then vanished.
  • I had been learning to drive with power steering. I turned the wheel to what I thought was enough and found myself in a different direction going in the opposite direction.

Keep Driver Education in Schools

Because of the hard economic times, the legislature’s desire has been to cut as many services as possible. Therefore they are attempting to suspend the proviso requirement that driver education be taught in high schools for a year. This will allow the school boards and superintendents the option of cutting driver education. It has been said that leadership is seeing a problem before it becomes an emergency, and our desire is to alert parents, teachers and any other entity that this decision will impact. The fact is that parents may not be able to have their children receive driver education in high school unless they contact their legislatures, school boards and superintendents now.

Driver education programs have partnered with parents in helping to develop proper knowledge, attitudes, and sufficient driving skills that are so vital in facing the complex traffic conditions. We know, as well as the parents, that the number one cause of teenage deaths is driving. Driver education is a course for life, helping students to drive safely throughout life. Granted, the need for reading, writing and arithmetic is obvious, but what will it profit teens if they don’t know the physics of vehicles, the effect of alcohol & other drugs, the need of seat belts, etc., and end up killing themselves in vehicle crashes?

Driver education in high schools gives students the opportunity to learn more because of 30 classroom hours, whereas commercial driver training only gives 8 classroom hours. While both driver education delivery methods have their praises and critics, SCADTSEA does not support any attack on the disbandment of either high school or commercial driver education. A great driver education course develops an understanding of the tremendous responsibility of operating a motor vehicle, not merely to prepare students to pass the Driver License Test!

It is our belief that most driver educators have classroom objectives like: learning psychology in driving, understanding the importance of good vision in driving, recognizing the role of physical fitness and safety, knowing the influence of alcohol and drugs on a person, learning the traffic laws, understanding stopping and driving guidelines, understanding the differences between country and city driving, understanding characteristics of freeway driving, understanding adverse or special driving conditions, understanding the automobile engine, understanding principles in maintenance of a vehicle, purchasing a vehicle, explaining characteristics of commercial driving (knowing the economic significance of the motor vehicle in America and the degree to which our economy depends on it), recognizing traffic and engineering needs, and describing how to maneuver the vehicle.

We know that parents also believe that driver and traffic safety education is too important to learn by chance or in a haphazard way. Driver education gives the proper tools to teach teenagers to drive safely. We consider it an honor to be entrusted by parents to help educate their children. Please help save driver education in high school and help to save teenagers! Share this information with anyone who can help save driver education in High School.

Steve Phillips, President
SCDTSEA 2009-10

Facing a Change

We are facing a change in the way South Carolina driver education will be taught. As some of you already know the South Carolina legislature is looking at changing a proviso that will allow high schools the option of providing driver education. Attached is a letter that has been sent to some PTA groups and legislatures. Our board has decided to try and take this fight to the local school boards and superintendents reminding them how important driver education is. I urge you to contact every local authority that might help prevent schools from opting out of providing driver education.

I know that our members are made up of commercial and public educators. I really believe that South Carolina has a nice balance. We need to look at this time in history as a chance to support one another. Our association should fight for and will fight for both entities. These are our brothers and sisters working together to provide education for our daughters, sons, and grandchildren. Now more than ever we need to stand together and put differences and critics aside.

We are one voice. That voice is driver education is important. I would hope that if the commercial schools were being pushed out of business by legislatures the public schools would stand up for them as we ask now for the commercial schools to stand by our public educators.

The fact is teen crashes are still the number one cause of death for this age group. We need every educator teaching to try and save South Carolina teens. Please contact your local representatives, church groups, PTA’s and any other organization that will listen and help save driver education in the public schools. It is never acceptable for driver education to be pushed aside and removed because it is not considered a core subject. Life and the preservation of life is always a core subject.

Steve Phillips, President
SCDTSEA 2009-10

Meeting the Challenge

We certainly have a lot of challenges in driver and traffic safety education and need to do better. Vehicle crashes are still the leading cause of teen fatalities. Surveys show that only 50 percent of teens take a driver education or driver training course (check our website to see alarming “Teen Driving: Facts and Statistics”). Decades ago every state mandated high school driver education. Teaching standards and curriculum need to be improved. There is more of an emphasis now in our profession on making money rather than meeting the needs of the students. As you look at the SCDTSEA website, you will find that SCDTSEA has been very active lobbying for more and better driver and traffic safety education.

It has been enjoyable and rewarding in trying to be of service and working toward making our educational profession a better one. It has also been a joy to see so many of you putting professionalism into action! After many years of teaching, I came up with these thoughts on professionalism:

Professionalism isn’t simply having higher degrees—it’s being of a higher breed; it isn’t simply teaching for years—it’s teaching for quality; it isn’t just to make money—it’s to mold teens to become safe drivers for life; it isn’t haughty pride—it’s humbling service; it isn’t talk—it’s action; and it isn’t promises—it’s performances.

I would like to challenge all of us to be involved with results. Involvement is merely putting your belief into action! Do we believe in safety education? Do we consider safety education a ministry? If we consider our educational profession a “high calling,” we will dedicate ourselves to be involved and to have results! We will be rewarded more than by making money. We will be rewarded by knowing that we have helped our teens to mature and to become experienced drivers. It is one thing to work for a living; it’s another thing to work for a cause! Our teaching is preparing students for living! You will also be rewarded by the appreciation your students give you. In this regard, a quotation by Charles V. Youmans should be very alarming: “God pity the teacher who does not the job for which he is paid (no matter how little). For in time, his students will raise a whole generation to curse him for his negligence.”

Please make plans to attend our November 21, 2014 SCDTSEA Conference at Blythewood’s SCDMV. I believe that our time together will help inspire, inform, encourage and increase our resolve for more and better driver and traffic safety education. Let us all keep on keeping on to “Make Safety First and Make It Last.”

Joe Sabbadino
SCDTSEA President

SCDTSEA Driver & Traffic Safety Teacher’s Creed

We, the Driver Educators Of South Carolina, Do Hereby Dedicate Our Personal and Professional Efforts as Teachers:

  • To effectively alert our students of the increasing hazards of operation of a motor vehicle
  • To increase the decision-making skills of our students, relative to the effects of alcohol, drugs, and the student’s individual value system
  • To instill the traits of character that should make one a safe driver and good traffic citizen, such as respect for the rights of other drivers, obedience to laws and maintaining self-control
  • To keep abreast of changes in the field of driver education and traffic safety
  • To be constantly aware of the physical, mental, and emotional health and growth of our students
  • To work as a team in respecting the rights, the integrity, and the dignity of our fellow educators
  • To keep ever in mind our common goal to reduce the accidents and fatalities in our cities, state, and nation.

Driver Education Needed for All

Most states have a GDL law that teenagers can’t get a license before 18 years of age if they don’t take a driver ed. or driver training course (in South Carolina it’s 17 years of age). Now a study is showing concern that teenage crashes at 18 are high because many got a license without taking a driver ed. or driver training course (Associated Press, “Fatal crashes up among 18-year-olds” by Lindsey Tanner).

We believe the majority would agree with David Strickland, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s administrator. He said the following at the 2011 American Driver & Traffic Safety Education Association Conference: “… Research indicates that immaturity and inexperience are two of the main contributing factors for the high teen driver crash rate.”

Be assured, even if it is agreed to raise the SC license age to 18 instead of 17, teenagers can get a restricted license earlier that will turn into a regular license later. What we are advocating will not hinder teenagers to drive legally until a later age (the restricted license automatically turns into a regular license at a later age). What we are advocating will help to have more teenagers take a driver ed. or driver training course before getting a license!

Most Europeans countries have seen the need to require several safety courses before granting licenses to teenagers. Instead, we are seeing teenagers getting licenses without a driver ed. or driver training course. The results? Eleven teens die in car wrecks every day. Some say up to 5000 teenage deaths (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) and vehicle crashes are the number one killer of teens. To be sure, driving constitutes the greatest hazard to survival through which American youth must pass to reach adulthood.

Parilman & Associates’ fact sheet indicates that 23 percent of teenagers killed in 2005 were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The 2009 Health Education Standards require alcohol and drug education for ALL students. Students taking a driver ed. or driver training class would be aware of the dangers of anyone driving who is under the influence. Another website indicates that the risk of a crash for a new driver is much higher during the first year a teen dries and some 400,000 teens are seriously injured yearly (www.car-Accidents.com). It was mentioned that such crashes occur within the first 100-200 miles of travel. Does this not indicate that all teenagers ought to have a driver ed. or driver training course? Such a course will help to overcome immaturity and inexperience. Better drivers make highways safer! Legislation is sorely needed regarding teens taking a driver ed. or driver training course so we can “Make Safety First and Make Safety Last” in South Carolina.

Joe Sabbadino
Public Relations
SC Driver & Traffic Safety Education Association