DeKalb teens fight drinking, driving

By Peggy Keslin

The 2,100 teenage traffic deaths in 1985 has prompted more than 75 DeKalb High School students to inform others about the dangers of drinking and driving.

The DeKalb chapter of Students Against Driving Drunk (SADD) informs students about alcohol-related traffic accidents, DUI traffic laws and reponsible drinking in general.

SADD President Nick Courvetaris, said, “SADD hopes to make community residents as well as students aware of the fact that drinking and then driving isn’t a smart thing to do.”

One of SADD’s long-running projects is a bulletin board located at the main entrance of the school cafeteria. Courvetaris said club members use the board to post responsible drinking tips and local stories about DUI accidents.

SADD Adviser Joseph Pasteris, also a DeKalb High School health teacher, said the bulletin board recently displayed newspaper articles about a DeKalb student whose car was struck by a train while the student was driving under the influence.

Pasteris said, “The majority of high school students seem to be getting the message and, for the most part, are not drinking and driving.”

Leaflets were put on cars at the high school’s Oct. 10 homecoming game reminding drivers to not drink and drive. The club also sponsored a float in the homecoming parade.

Pasteris said, “Major school events such as homecoming allow SADD to reach a great number of students at one time.”

e said the national organization focuses specifically on “drinking and driving” but his concerns go beyond that. “Alcohol can effect all aspects of a person’s life.”

The chapter has been in existence for more than a year and is one of 203 SADD chapters at Illinois high schools.

An ongoing national campaign, “Challenge ‘88—A Celebration of Life,” which began last June, hopes to reduce alcohol-related teen fatalities to 1,000 by 1988.

The campaign is supported by a $15,000 contribution from the Bally Arcade Corporation.

Secretary of State Jim Edgar said teenagers comprise only 8 percent of all Illinois licensed drivers, yet account for 13 percent of all drivers killed in alcohol-related accidents.

“The rapid growth of SADD chapters at high schools nationwide is a clear indication that more and more young people now realize that gas and alcohol don’t mix.”

obert Anastas, executive director and founder of SADD, said the group hopes to reduce the number of deaths “through education, safe teen entertainment and peer pressure.”