This past week, I attended the D.U.I. simulation put on by the Students Against Destructive Decisions club at Daniel Boone High School. I’ve never seen a mock crash demonstration before; I knew what it was, but had no idea at how much it would have affected me. Water St. in Birdsboro was completely shut down for the night’s event. The street was lined with firefighters, state police, students, parents, teachers and neighbors. When everyone was ready to start, the chatter of the street got quiet as the scene of the crash had begun. A car, with a family inside, was “hit” by a three drunk teenagers driving a pick-up truck after prom. When the scene unfolded, the cars were mashed up in a head-on collision. The mom was banging on the inside of the window, bloody, screaming for help. A bystander calls 9-1-1 and hearing his steady voice give the information about the crash to the dispatcher was when the emotions and reality of the accident started to kick in. The fire engines and ambulance began to respond. It was the lights and sirens that made everything about the mock crash seem like reality. The work of the first responders is truly heroic and even in a simulated situation, I was in awe of the how these men and women respond to a crisis. It was terrifying at the same time. Standing just feet away from the all too common fatal scene made me understand the impact S.A.D.D. is trying to get across to their fellow students.
The drunk driver of the truck was interrogated by a State Trooper, asked to walk a straight line and was taken away in handcuffs. Three of the actors were “killed” in the crash; the two passengers of the pick-up truck and the father of the family. The two little girls sat in fear on the curb, with fake blood covering their faces, gripping each other as they watch their father’s body be taken away. For the students, the night must have been much more impacting, watching their friends and peers be taken away in body bags.
Accidents happen so fast. It isn’t until we see the aftermath of a traumatic scene or know someone who was involved, that we take the time to reevaluate the actions in our own lives. This scene was created so teenagers will think twice before drinking and driving after prom, but the message resonates with everyone. Being a distracted driver can be deadly. It’s not just “those reckless kids” that drivers must be cautious of on the road; it’s anyone texting, anyone looking in the backseat, anyone changing the song on their iPod. We are all distracted drivers.
The students at Daniel Boone High School made me think twice about what I’m doing while driving. Drunk driving accidents have now become a reality for the district and community, and hopefully have made an impact on more than just the car.