Mock crash aims to boost safe driving

Student actors participate in the Mock Crash program, an event designed to encourage safe driving.

Senior Angelina Makhoul, one of the actors in the mock crash, felt the gravity of the event when she watched the video playing back footage of friends with her at her house, and then saw the video cut to the mock car crash scene.

“Having everyone at my house having fun, and then seeing the video where the crash happened right after was really eye-opening,” she said.

Senior Michael Magnotti, who also acted in the mock crash, agreed that the juxtaposition of the “fun” scene and the crash scene made the video more real.

“It was crazy to see everybody laughing and having fun, but then seeing everyone in a car crash, injured or screaming,” Magnotti said.

The April 30 mock crash program simulated the consequences of driving under the influence, sending the message to juniors and seniors to drive safely during prom and graduation season.

It featured the senior class officers and executive board acting as students who get in a crash on prom night due to drunk driving. It began with a video of the characters preparing for prom and pretending to be drinking, and then transitioned to an outdoor event that showed the aftermath of a crash.

The students who were roleplaying acted out the emotions and effects of the crash. While some portrayed seriously injured students, others only had minor injuries and were attempting to get help for their friends.

Senior Mikayla Davic roleplayed as the drunk driver in the accident and was tested for driving under the influence while the chaos unfolded.

Several first responders also roleplayed in the accident. Three ambulances and one fire truck were brought into the parking lot while an emergency helicopter landed in the softball field.

Despite knowing it was a simulation, students remarked that it seemed realistic.

“The reactions were definitely realistic, and it was a lot to take in to see the injuries,” senior Tabitha Schmidt said.

The mock crash typically takes place during prom season to raise awareness of accidents that can happen if students make poor decisions. However, it is also meant to show the importance of safe driving in general and not just during prom season.

“It’s not a matter of if, it’s where,” senior class co-sponsor Dr. Daniel Harrold said during the assembly. He explained the importance of realizing that accidents don’t only happen around prom season, but can happen at any time.

The senior class officers organize much of the event, putting together the video section months before and performing at the mock crash in costumes and makeup.

The actors agreed that the emotional impact was larger than they expected.

“It was crazy to think of seeing your friend not get out of the car, with blood on their face, due to a bad decision,” Magnotti said.

The first mock crash took place in 2015, after a local EMS group approached administration with the idea, Harrold said.

“The senior class officers do a lot of work, but the local fire, police, and EMS groups send vehicles and officers, and it’s all free for the school, so they deserve a lot of credit,” Harrold said.

Harrold thinks the mock crash is effective in preventing students from making unsafe decisions regarding driving.

“It really brings awareness to drunk and distracted driving and shows the potential consequences of bad decisions,” Harrold said. “It’s a powerful experience to see.”