Friday, April 24, 2015

Put It Down, Save a Life


A reenactment of a fatal car crash.
Distracted driving and drunk driving are among the leading causes of deaths for teenagers in the U.S. Because of this, the entire Mansfield ISD community came together this week spreading one message—put it down, save a life.

The two-day event challenges juniors and seniors to think about the consequences of driving while distracted or impaired. It helps turn the “what ifs” into a stark reality.

Each campus exposed students to graphic reminders of the dangers of unsafe driving—ranging from “grim reapers” reading a students’ obituaries and taking them out of class, a flat line heart beat playing over the intercom throughout the day, multiple crosses placed outside of a campus to represent the lives that could be taken, or a wrecked car on display to provide students a glimpse of what could happen.

One of the most haunting moments of the event is when the scene of a fatal alcohol-related and distracted-driving car crash was reenacted. About 300 students, 50 from each campus, experienced what it was like to be—or see their peers—seriously injured, taken to jail, or dead.

A student acting as if he died in an impaired/distracted
driver accident.
“We had the involvement of Mansfield police, Mansfield ISD police, Mansfield Methodist hospital, coroners, parents, teachers, administration, and so many more,” said Lynn Wilkie, MISD Center sales and marketing coordinator, who helped organize the event. “It was neat to see so many people working together to help these kids make the right decision.”

Students also heard from speakers whose lives were unexpectedly changed forever because of a drunk or distracted driver. Later in the evening, the students wrote a “last chance” letter to their parents explaining what they want to say if they passed away.

“It was definitely emotional. We were all just bawling,” said Evelyn Stewart, a senior at Summit High school. “Even though it was fake, it was so real because you never know when your last chance is.”

As prom, graduation, and summer are fast approaching, the program was a powerful way to communicate the dangers of getting behind the wheel distracted or under the influence. You never know the harm in which you could be putting yourself and others.