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Mock crash uses fear factor

The crowd fell silent as people looked upon the two mangled, smoking cars on the track of Todd Beamer High School last week.

One student rested partially on the hood of a car, half his body through a shattered windshield, blood dripping from his face.

The high school juniors and seniors watching the scene unfold knew that it was all theatrics. But still, they watched solemnly and considered the message: Don’t drink and drive.

Each spring, Todd Beamer High School hosts a mock drunken driving crash to remind students to make smart choices at the upcoming prom, graduation and spring parties. Local law enforcement and emergency medical responders participate in the events by arresting drivers and treating injured passengers.

During last Friday’s scenario, several teenagers filled a car and were riding with a drunken driver when they crashed into another car carrying a husband and pregnant wife on their way to the hospital to have a baby. The pregnant wife and her unborn child died in the scenario, along with two students.

“It’s pretty dark,” said Michael Johnson, a Todd Beamer senior who coordinated the crash.

Johnson said he aims to prevent his peers from drinking and driving. He recalled that students made safer choices at last year’s prom due to the mock crash before that event.

“Because we’re teenagers, we’re not going to say ‘don’t drink,’ because we’re teenagers,” Johnson said. “The whole point is to be smart about it and don’t drink and drive.”

Contact Margo Hoffman: mhoffman@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

Drunken driving statistics:

In the United States, there were 16,885 alcohol-related traffic fatalities in 2005, averaging one almost every half-hour.

Alcohol-related crashes represented 39 percent of all United States traffic fatalities in 2005.

In Washington state, alcohol-related crashes represented 45 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2005.

About three in every 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives.

In 2000, the most recent year data was available, there were more alcohol-related traffic fatalities on prom and graduation weekends than most holidays, including New Year’s Eve, Super Bowl Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day and the Fourth of July.

On prom and graduation weekends in 2000, there were an average of 136 alcohol-related traffic fatalities each weekend across the country.

Source: www.madd.org.

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