An innovative program at a high school in Yamhill recently brought together students and local safety officials to demonstrate the dangers of Oregon drunk driving, according to an account in the Yamhill Valley News-Register.
The program, known as SKID (Stopping Kids Intoxicated Driving) was developed in 1998 by the Sheriff’s Office in Washington County, west of Portland. It encourages students to work with local police and fire officials, the sheriff’s office, state police and a local funeral home to demonstrate Oregon drunk driving car crash scenarios that are, in the paper’s words, “highly realistic but not real.”
The demonstration described by the newspaper was designed to simulate the effects of drunk driving and drug use in the imagined aftermath of prom night. In addition to the students assigned to simulate impaired driving, others were texting in the car, some of them riding without wearing seat belts. Those details were designed to emphasize to teens the importance not just of not driving while impaired, but also of not choosing to ride along with an impaired driver.
The paper reports that “all of the emergency services personnel volunteered their time to make the program possible. They would rather teach teens to make the right choices, State Police Trooper Bridget Taylor explained, than to investigate the aftermath.” Some of the student actors’ families were also present – an experience they described as disconcerting granted the realistic post-accident carnage utilizing large amounts of fake blood and real emergency vehicles.
Programs like this play an important role in cutting down on Oregon drunk driving. Our state’s dram shop laws, designed to hold those who sell or serve alcohol responsible for their actions, can only go so far. Any Portland drunk driving attorney would agree with the emergency personnel quoted above that it is far better to convince teens and young adults that drinking and driving do not mix in the first place than to be forced to deal with its tragic consequences later, via the legal system.
Yamhill Valley News-Register: Mock crash raises awareness