If One Life Is Saved,
What started as a typical traffic safety assembly turned out to be a large-scale mock car crash that did not cost the school a penny because the fire, police and medical workers volunteered their time for the event.
The Crash Demonstration Was Worth It.
Scottsdale Fire Captain Dave Folio said that he donated his time because “if at least one life is saved, this demonstration is worth the time and energy.”
Reactions of the student body ranged from “excellent message” to “lengthy and drawn out,” with repeated expressions of disappointment that the helicopter’s arrival at the scene was aborted when it was called to a real accident.
“The most astonishing fact I learned was how devastating the actual crash was and how much of a difference a seatbelt can make,” Bruce Merrill, Class of 2011, said. “It is scary to think that 16 teenagers die every single day.”
NDP’s Students Against Destructive Decisions club arranged the assembly as part of their “Act Out Loud” campaign to raise awareness about traffic accidents, the No. 1 killer of teens in the U.S. The NDP group is one of 10 nationwide chosen by the national organization to compete for $10,000 to spread SADD’s message.
With sirens blaring and emergency vehicles arriving one after another onto campus, the Scottsdale Police and Fire departments walked the student body through what really happens at the scene of a traffic collision.
The event started with a shocking presentation by Captain Folio who showed disturbing videos and statistics. The assembly was made all the more real when Junior Sara Martin delivered an impassioned speech about the pain she lives with after her close friend was killed in a traffic accident last month.
The entire student body was silent throughout the entire presentation, making the assembly all the more powerful. Students were then asked to move outside for the second half of the presentation as a tarp on the soccer field was pulled off to reveal two smashed cars with people inside them. Members of SADD, along with Ms. Lynn Ekstrom, were bloodied up and hanging out of the cars in all directions.
Junior Katie Hendricks played the impaired driver who not only failed a field sobriety test but was also arrested in the process. Junior Sam Regonini played the driver of the second car who was fatally injured when he was thrown through the windshield on impact because he was not a wearing a seat belt. Juniors Tom Guilleaume and Ryan Hodges as well as Mrs. Ekstrom were passengers who emergency workers transported away from the accident site, being treated as if they were real patients. Regonini was put in a body bag and taken away in a hearse.
Said Freshman Evan Reuben, “The SADD presentation opened our eyes to the effects of one bad decision: the pain the victim’s family has to endure. The demonstration of what happens after an accident showed us that texting or talking in the phone while driving can be very serious.”
Every year the National Organizations for Youth Safety sponsors the “Act Out Loud” competition during National Youth Traffic Safety Month in May. NDP’s SADD club submitted their project proposal in March and learned in April that they had been chosen for the national competition to educate teens about traffic safety.
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