The students received firsthand experience of exactly what they could be responsible for, including killing someone and possibly one of their friends. In addition, the mock crash served as a reminder for parents and guardians to talk to their teens about the consequences of texting while driving.
The mock crash took place on Golden Bear Gateway directly in front of Mt. Juliet High School while students watched. Students in the drama and theater department played the roles of drivers and passengers in the crash. The exercise involved a distracted driver involved in a head-on collision with another car.
Police and school administration purposely planned the event a few days before prom to remind students of the effects of bad decisions.
“We put this on every year,” said Mt. Juliet fire Chief Jamie Luffman. “Did you notice how smoothly this incident ran? We’ve never practiced this. This is what we’ve done numerous times. Everything that you see, from the injuries the folks have all the way to the positions of the cars, it’s not by chance. These have actually been case studies done, some of them here in the city, some of them to friends and families that we know of.”
According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study, 10 percent of all drivers 15-19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. Teens are the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the crashes.
Agencies that participated in the event included the Mt. Juliet Police Department, Fire Department of Mt. Juliet, Wilson County Emergency Management Agecy and Vanderbilt LifeFlight. Hamblen’s Wrecker Service in Mt. Juliet provided the crashed vehicles for the exercise.