Car Accident Ed: Drunk Driving Demo for Students in Tempe

As the end of the school year nears, and teens begin thinking about after-prom and post-graduation parties, parents, school administrators and law enforcement officials in Tempe, Arizona are relying on a new vehicle known as Car Accident Ed to channel their thinking in a new direction.

Mount Pointe High School football field recently became the scene for a mock drunk driving demonstration. Under the auspices of the Phoenix Police Department, students were engaged to assume the roles of police, fire and emergency crew personnel. Students stood on the sidelines and filled the end zones as they watched fellow schoolmates carry out responsibilities such as initially responding to a 911 accident call. Other individuals demonstrated the procedures involved in vehicular victim extraction. Professionals afforded students an up-close and personal opportunity to experience DUI testing and arrest procedures.

The scenario was further compounded with a demonstration by the Medical Examiner for Maricopa County involving preparation for and removal of a DOA victim from the accident scene. The gamut of emotions was on display from students as they watched a medevac helicopter-landing zone being set up. A number of students experienced an immediate need for counseling that was provided by qualified professionals in real-time.

During the demonstration directed by a member of the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, students were made aware that 5,444 alcohol-related car crashes occurred in 2012. Other “Car Accident Ed” scenes included the sight of a dead victim who had been thrown through the windshield of a vehicle and adults portraying family members arriving on the scene, including the father of the drunken teen driver.

According to sources, the presentation’s goal to instill a long-lasting, unforgettable impression in the minds and hearts of both the teenage participants and the audience was a resounding success. This in-real-time activity was deemed to have had an impact far greater than watching television shows such as “Cops” or a graphics-limited primetime news accident report.

An assembly followed up the demonstration during which students and others in attendance were encouraged to participate in a Q&A session with local law enforcement and rescue personnel. During this session, several myths were dispelled, including that encompassing refusal of a sobriety test. Students learned that even if the blood-alcohol count is below 0.8, police observing signs of intoxicative behavior have the authority to impose a DWI, driving while impaired, charge on any driver, regardless of age.

Some Car Accident Ed demonstrations involve the isolation of those portraying deceased victims to simulate the permanent separation from friends, family members, and classmates in the aftermath of their demise.