SADD: More Than Just Preventing Student Drunk Driving

vision is blurred while student is drunk driving

Formerly known as Students Against Drunk Driving, S.A.D.D. began with a mission of preventing teen car accidents caused by driving under the influence of alcohol. The organization changed its name to Students Against Destructive Decisions in 1997 to address the vast array of issues impacting young adults today, including:

  • substance abuse drugs threat to teen driving safety
  • suicide
  • depression
  • bullying
  • violence
  • body image

Impressive Group Saves Lives

For more than 35 years, this impressive group has promoted a mission of saving lives by empowering young people to confront the risks and pressures that challenge them throughout their daily lives. Some notable accomplishments include:

  • receipt of the Edward G. Loveland Memorial Award
  • receipt of a letter of commendation from President Bill Clinton
  • an invitation to participate in the White House Leadership Conference on Youth, Drug Use and Violence
  • an invitation to a special White House event highlighting the decline in youth drug use

S.A.D.D. focuses attention on several issues that impact youth today, but their three core issues follow.

Teen Driving Safety

teenager texting while drivingS.A.D.D. supports driver’s licensing laws that establish phases for young drivers such as permit phase, provisional phase and unrestricted phase. They also support safety belt use, which is required by law in the state of California. One major safety issue of concern to S.A.D.D. is distracted driving, e.g. texting and driving, cell phone use, looking at something inside or outside of the vehicle, moving to music, grooming, and reaching for an object. As the number of teen car accidents due to distracted driving increases, public information about avoiding distractions becomes all the more relevant.

See our infographic on teen car accident statistics.


Teen Substance Abuse Prevention

S.A.D.D. recognizes that teen substance abuse is neither healthy nor legal, particularly when it leads to teen driving accidents. A vast number of dangerous substances and prescription medications are easily accessible in schools, communities and in the home.

Because alcohol-related fatality rates are twice as high for those 18-20 years of age as for those over age 21, S.A.D.D. has prioritized issues related to driving impairment. Alcohol makes a critical impact on cognitive functions such as vision, reaction time, depth perception, and judgment–made worse in children and adolescents because the brain is still developing.

Additionally, excessive alcohol consumption can be linked to risky and destructive behaviors, violence, inappropriate remarks, and potentially fatal mistakes. S.A.D.D. lobbies to pass drinking age laws that prohibit purchase and possession of alcohol by minors by punishing adults, sellers and servers who endanger the lives and safety of youth by supplying, purchasing and serving alcohol.

S.A.D.D. opposes the legalization of marijuana because: anti marijuana symbol

  • it can lead to increased use
  • it sends the message that marijuana is harmless
  • studies have conclusively shown that marijuana has an adverse impact on driving

Two large European studies found that drivers with THC in their blood were roughly twice as likely to be culpable for a fatal accident than drivers who had not used drugs or alcohol. Now that California has passed a law legalizing marijuana for adult use, it will become more important than ever to make sure teens follow the rules of the road and understand that California DUI laws encompass any mind-altering substance.

Teen Health & Safety Promotion

group of Roseville students

Promoting personal health and safety in teens is an important objective of S.A.D.D. In response to requests of students across the country, S.A.D.D. has started to address issues related to suicide, self-harm, depression, bullying, violence and body image.

S.A.D.D. supports anti-violence programs in schools, which address increasingly prevalent issues such as hazing, bullying, relationship abuse and gang activity. They also educate the public on how to recognize signs of abuse.

You Can Help Prevent Teen Car Accidents

One of S.A.D.D.’s organizational goals is to ensure that millions of teens each year benefit from their resources, and they do so by making it very easy to get involved. You can volunteer for your local chapter, or start one in your community. S.A.D.D. is always looking for ways to make a positive stand on important issues facing teens and one of those ways is by educating the public.

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