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Mock accident used to teach teens about safe driving

With spring right around the corner, many high schools are preparing for prom night at their high schools. In some Tennessee high schools, they are also preparing for an orchestrated accident scene put on by dozens of emergency and law enforcement personnel to discourage students from drinking and driving.

This graphic reminder happens at schools across the country, but for students at Viking High School, the dramatization took on another meaning. Several weeks ago, the Tennessee Highway Patrol pulled over several Viking drivers for a variety of minor traffic offenses. There were so many that the judge presiding over the cases arranged to have a court date at the school library to accommodate everyone that had been cited. Parents were required to attend with their children and the charges would be dismissed if the group agreed to attend a safety class.

The judge felt that with so many offenders and prom time approaching, this would be a great way to bring awareness of distracted driving as well as not drinking and driving. Prom time is meant to be fun -- no one wants to lose a friend in a car accident.

Once the students were released from court in the school library, they were brought outside to the staged accident scene. The vehicles used in the demonstration were cars that their classmates were in when the accidents happened earlier in the year.

The emergency crews on the scene went through the accident scenario and what happens to everyone that is involved. It's an eye-opening experience and one that police hope will prevent teens from inattentive or drunk driving.

Source: Times-Gazette, "Anatomy of a crash: mock accident motivates teens," Tracy Simmons, Mar. 9, 2012

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