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School Programs Show Dangers of Distracted Driving

Two programs in Houston-area schools show students the dangers of drunk or distracted driving. Manvel High School started the program in April, with Pearland High School following suit earlier in May. The Shattered Dreams program demonstrates the consequences of fatal accidents to the school’s junior and senior class students, targeting those age groups most likely to engage in reckless behavior before they get behind the wheel.

Mock Accidents Show Results of Distracted Driving

Pearland and Manvel are the latest schools to use the Shattered Dreams classes. The techniques the program uses to show what happens in distracted driving incidents include live demonstrations of blood-soaked accident sites, hospital visits and mock funerals. The classes even include a visit from a LifeFlight helicopter and a lecture from a trauma surgeon. The program’s objective is to show students that the dangers of drunk or distracted driving can be life-changing or, in some instances, life-ending.

Hospitals Demonstrate Distracted Driving Injuries

Experts from Memorial Hermann Hospital, one of the sponsors of the program, work with the schools to show what happens in drunk and distracted driving accidents. In addition to the LifeFlight visit, students are taken to the hospital’s Trauma Institute to speak with volunteers about how one poor choice can lead to devastating and fatal consequences. The hospital also consults with schools in how to create effective mock-ups of accident sites, including injuries, auto damage and emergency response times.

Distracted Driving Mock Accidents Use Popular Students

One of the keys to the success of Shattered Dreams in preventing drunk or distracted driving accidents is its use of popular students. The program selects students based partially on their popularity and reputation, not necessarily on their acting abilities. The intent is to show students that even their well-liked peers can make a mistake when it comes to drinking or texting while driving. The hope is that the impact of seeing a peer students recognize every day in the halls, now lying in a hospital bed or a morgue table, will bring home the importance of making the right choices.

Distracted Driving Dramatizations Show Students Pervasive Problems

The Shattered Dreams program also includes dramatizations to show the pervasive nature of drunk and distracted driving. A performer in a “Grim Reaper” costume selects students at random and pulls them out of class. The selected students wear white makeup and black T-shirts with “Living Dead” printed on them to symbolize the young people that die from drunk and distracted driving accidents every year. The next day, the students gather in a school-wide assembly to tell the stories of the “victims”, the driver and their parents. Police, emergency medical technicians and trauma doctors also present their first-hand accounts of such accidents to the students.

Source: Houston Chronicle

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