Drunk Driving Assembly and Its Importance

Drunk Driving Assembly and Its Importance

Aspen Mora

On May 23rd, 2023, two assemblies were held here at MHS. Both touched on topics such as drunk driving, its effects, and even a first-hand account of someone who lost multiple people to driving under the influence. The first assembly, held from 9 am to 10 am, was exclusively for Freshmen and Sophomores, while the second, which was held from about 10:10 am to 11 am, was for Juniors and Seniors.

About 31% of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers. 138 of those fatalities happened in New Jersey alone. One of the more notable stories Esteves touched on happened in 2011. She shared how three students died after their car smashed into Pine Beach Elementary School. Every person in the car was not wearing their seatbelt, and the crash was not discovered until a school administrator arrived at about 6:45 am. The student’s bodies sat there for about two hours before being discovered. While these students were not intoxicated, their deaths serve as a reminder that you always need to be aware while driving a motor vehicle.

The most memorable part of the assembly was Maria’s own story. Her daughter, eight and a half-year-old, Rosemary Esteves, was hit by a drunk driver who was bar hopping on April 20th, 1991. A day later, she was pronounced brain-dead and was taken off her ventilator. Her life was ended by a 45-year-old man who was trying to find a venue for his son’s bachelor party. His BAC (blood alcohol content) was .10; if his BAC had been higher, he wouldn’t have been able to walk. Rosemary was not the only person to fall victim to this man’s alcoholism, Maria’s great-uncle died as well on his way to the hospital. This crash was extremely preventable and was the 45-year-old man’s fault, yet he only served 4 years and eight months in prison. Those four years were what the court decided Rosemary and her great-uncle were worth. 

Maria Esteves is a part of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), a non-profit organization set on one unifying goal: ending the trend of impaired driving for good. MADD first began in 1980, when 13-year-old Cari Lightner was killed on May 3, 1980, in Fair Oaks, California. She was hit by a drunk driver just two days after his release from jail for his 4th DUI arrest, throwing her 125 feet forward. Cari became the face of drunk driving victims. Her mother, Candace Lightner, began working towards enforcing stricter DUI laws, all while carrying her daughter’s picture, a reminder of the safety her daughter deserved and was denied. 

Today, MADD has changed the lives of hundreds of grieving mothers and saved countless children from the fate they had endured. Tess Rowland assumed the role of MADD’s National President after almost being killed by a drunk driver one year before taking on the title. 

Don’t drive while intoxicated. Not only are you putting yourself in danger, but you are also putting the innocent people around you in danger too.