Dangerous Driving

As the holiday season approaches, so do cases of drunk drivers behind the wheel


Jacqueline Downs

Brennan poses with the breathalyzer used at school dances

Jacqueline Downs, Staff Writer


“I think kids don’t know how to drink,” explained Assistant Principal Scott Brennan. “They drink to get drunk. Everybody’s young so they don’t know what they’re putting into their bodies and the effect it has.”

The leaves falling from the trees and the crisp autumn air are exciting reminders that the holiday season is near. While the excitement of homecoming and potential snow days makes the days go by a little faster, or slower for some, it can be an unsafe time for student drivers.

While drunk driving is a problem all year long, certain holiday and celebratory seasons such as Christmas and prom lead to an increase in drunk driving crashes. According to www.transportation.gov, from the article Holiday Drunk Driving Facts,  the United States Transportation Department found that 781 people died in December 2016 alone due to drunk driving, leading to an increase in law enforcement patrols during the holiday season.

According to Underage Drinking: What You Should Know, from drugfree.org, “Although young people drink less often than adults do, when they drink, they drink more. That is because young people consume more than 90 percent of their alcohol by binge drinking.” Abuse of alcohol, such as binging, can lead to dangerous decision making, especially when deciding to get behind the wheel while impaired.

In August of 2016, www.nbcboston.com reported in the article Teen Killed, Mass. Driver Charged With Drunk Driving, that an 18-year-old student at Lunenburg High School had been killed by a drunk driver.

“The Lunenburg School Community is deeply saddened by the loss of Austin ‘AJ’ Robbins,” stated Lunenburg Principal Brian Spadafino. “ He will be missed by his classmates, friends, and the faculty and staff of the Lunenburg Public Schools.”

Senior Sophia Simone has been driving for over a year and finds herself constantly having to worry about dangerous drivers, “I definitely experienced times on the highway where people were either drunk driving or inebriated or texting, and it definitely was a safety concern.”

In order to prevent such occurrences at proms and other school functions, Brennan and chaperones watch for typical signs of impairment and even have ways of testing for it.

“We always have a breathalyzer with us,” Brennan said. “The chaperones that we have – we talk to them about what we’re looking for.”

Luckily for this generation, Brennan has noticed that with companies such as Uber, students are more likely to call for a ride home or use a designated driver than to drive themselves home drunk.

Even so, senior Jayce Mojica, who drives often on his permit,  has a message to those who are still thinking about getting behind the wheel while impaired, “Put down the bottle, call an Uber or a taxi or something, and go home. Don’t risk your life because you want to party.”