At 9:00 am this morning, the parking lot of Strath Haven High School was the site where more than 400 students and faculty witnessed a simulated, yet seemingly real, accident scene before their eyes, with ambulances, police, fire trucks, the county coroner, and most important—students as victims of the car crash. Jaws of Life machinery, stretchers, and body bags made the scene even more real as the 11th grade students watched their classmates act out the fatal car crash, with some of them severely injured, one arrested for causing the accident while under the influence and two "dead" hanging out of the crashed vehicles.
Although a chilling and traumatic scene, this is what experts feel is the best way to get the message across to teen drivers of the risks they could encounter with one bad decision—whether it’s driving drunk or high, getting into a car when the driver is drunk or high, texting while driving, or driving recklessly.
“When I decided to volunteer for the mock crash event, I really wanted to show my classmates a potential scenario that could result from one bad decision,” said Dan Lardan, Strath Haven Junior and Student Body President. “Being a part of the event today really helped us to think of the guilt we would have to live with if we were in a situation like that. It also showed the effects it would have not just on us, but on our friends and family, if we were to die or become severely injured. It also made us think of losing one another. It was unbelievably powerful.”
Nether Providence Police officers were on the scene to field-test and arrest the driver who caused the crash. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) from Riddle Hospital, rescue teams from Swarthmore, Media, Garden City, South Media, and Parkside, along with the Delaware County Medical Examiners, arrived to save and transport victims. With more than 75 personnel in full gear and using real equipment, the re-enactment brought many in the crowd to tears, especially when actors from the Media Theatre arrived on the scene as distressed parents.
Once the accident had been handled and all victims taken care of, the students returned to the auditorium for a presentation by the Cruisin’ not Boozin’ program of Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital, part of Main Line Health. The speaker was former Garnet Valley High School student, Daniel Perrino, who while driving drunk, hit a telephone pole and changed the course of his life forever. After beating death, Daniel was left with a severe traumatic brain injury and multiple other permanent injuries. He is currently continuing therapy at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital.
Riddle Hospital, also part of Main Line Health, coordinated the day's events with the help of a grant funded from State Farm Insurance Company. In recognition of the National Teen Driver Safety Initiative, the hope is to reduce the number of accidents, injuries and deaths among teens.