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Friday, May 6, 2016

Mock accident educates student drivers

Monday, November 12, 2012

Staff Photo/ Courtney Luke Students at Malden High School were recently witnesses to this mock accident presented by the SADD club. A goal of the exercise was to educate student drivers on the dangers of drunk driving. [Order this photo]
According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, traffic crashes are the leading cause of death in the United States for people of every age from two through 33 years old. Seven out of 10 Missourians killed in traffic crashes were not wearing their safety belts. Safety belts are considered one of the most important safety devices in a vehicle.

In 2010, 207 people were killed and 831 seriously injured in crashes involving a drunk driver.

At Malden High School, the student organization, Students Against Destructive Decision (SAAD) addressed both of these issues head on in a walk through skit they presented to other high school students.

As these students walked quietly form one room to another, a specific story was presented to them. A story that showed what could easily happen in the life of a teenager when a series of bad choices are made.

During the first scene, a group of teenage girls are excited as they get ready for a party being held later that night. The young women chat and laugh while they fix their hair and paint their nails. The drinking of alcohol is discussed during this time with several students mentioning they will participate in the activity.

The next scene students witnessed was a group of boys playing video games and waiting for the party. They are also excited to attend.

With flashing lights and loud music, the actors join together for the third scene in which the actual party is depicted. Several of the actors are shown drinking alcohol. While dancing, one student actor receives a phone call and is told that friends have been in a car accident. All of the party attendees are upset about the accident. Some are nervous that their parents will find out that they have been drinking alcohol at the party.

The next scene presents a wrecked automobile, ambulance, police car, EMTs, a police officer, a young driver and a deceased passenger laying on the hood of the car.

While the students watched, the accident scene unfolded before them.

The officer on duty removed the driver from the car and issued a sobriety test which the driver failed while EMTs at the scene attempted to assist the injured.

The final scene portrayed a funeral home complete with a coffin and the actual family of the deceased actor. The student walked directly beside the family and the coffin holding a sign stating, "Don't let one decision haunt your tomorrow!".

SADD sponsor Mary Howell explained that through the Team Spirit Workshop presented by MoDot, Malden's SADD students were given the idea to present this imitation car accident for their friends and classmates at the school.

During the workshop held this past summer, two teams had to come up with an action plan to raise awareness. They brought that plan back with them and the skit, entitled "Friends", developed from there.

"The biggest thing we wanted is for them to think about their decisions," explained Howell. "Many different decision led to that funeral."

She explained that not only the drinking at the party, but the fact that friends let others leave after drinking, were irresponsible decisions.

64 students are members of SADD this year. The students were responsible for acquiring the props necessary for the presentation and for encouraging the participation of the additional adult actors.

"We see parents drive into the school parking lot not wearing seat belts," Howell explained reminding that it is also the responsibility of parents to teach their children safe driving techniques.

"If just one kid buckles up that didn't before, it's worth it."

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