Hauppauge, NY - May 15, 2018 - Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini today announced a new outreach program aimed at educating high school students and their parents on the dangers of impaired and reckless driving. The program, “Choices and Consequences,” is a dynamic, engaging presentation that is provided by assistant district attorneys and detectives assigned to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office’s Vehicular Crime Bureau.
“Whether it’s texting and driving, drinking or doing drugs and driving, these decisions can be fatal,” District Attorney Sini said. “The ‘Choices and Consequences’ program drives that message home to teens and their parents by using real-life examples that unfortunately have changed lives forever, have taken lives from us prematurely, and have devastated victims’ families and friends here in Suffolk County.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading cause of death for people in the United States between the ages of 15 and 24 is motor vehicle crashes. In Suffolk County, the leading causes of motor vehicle crashes is impaired driving and the second leading cause is reckless or distracted driving.
During District Attorney Sini’s tenure as Suffolk County Police Commissioner, motor vehicle crashes within the police district were reduced by more than 30 percent as a result of a multi-pronged enforcement effort to increase traffic safety.
“I’m proud to say that the Suffolk County Police Department and its partners have been successful in reducing motor vehicle crashes that result in serious physical injuries or fatalities, but enforcement is just one piece of our approach,” District Attorney Sini said. “We need to educate; we need to raise awareness of making bad decisions behind the wheel.”
The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office’s “Choices and Consequences” program is based on a presentation created in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office and later adopted by the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office. The presentation comprises facts and statistics on impaired and reckless driving; interactive skits that show how police officers respond to motor vehicle crash scenes and detect impairment; and demonstrations of the impacts of alcohol and drugs on motor skills.
In partnership with the Long Island Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence (LICADD), the scope of the “Choices and Consequences” program has now been expanded to educate participants about the dangers of substance use and abuse in an effort to combat the opioid epidemic.
LICADD, in conjunction with the Christopher D. Smithers Foundation, recently released a public service announcement, entitled “Hey Charlie,” that highlights the progression of drug addiction and encourages those struggling with substance abuse to seek treatment. The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office has partnered with the two organizations to include a screening of the PSA during the “Choices and Consequences” program.
“LICADD is proud to partner with the District Attorney’s Office as they take the lead in making sure that this life-saving education is provided to every student and every parent in Suffolk County,” Steve Chassman, Executive Director of LICADD, said. “It’s so important when dealing with a disease that is potentially preventable to get this message out in every Long Island school. This is how we are going to turn the corner on this epidemic.”
“We have proms, graduations and the summer months coming up, so it’s the perfect time for schools to invite us in to provide this presentation,” District Attorney Sini said. “It’s a terrific opportunity for schools to be on the cutting edge of education and prevention.”
The District Attorney’s Office invites school districts and community groups across Suffolk County to participate in the program by emailing InfoDA@suffolkcountyny.gov or calling 631-853-5602.
“There are a lot of presentations out there, but I guarantee that if you sit through this presentation, it will impact your life and the way you make decisions. It is that powerful,” District Attorney Sini said.