The day before students at Wellington High School celebrated their senior prom, the Health Care District of Palm Beach County’s Trauma Agency and community partners staged a dramatic lesson on teen driving safety.
About 750 juniors and seniors at Wellington High School learned about the potentially deadly consequences of drunk driving, distracted driving and speeding an assembly and crash reenactment on campus. Members of the school’s Student Government Association participated in the staged two-car collision, and Trauma Hawk landed on the football field to simulate the transport of a mock patient. This was the last of six “Shattered Dreams” presentations at area high schools this school year.
“Smart phones, multiple passengers and other distractions are roadblocks to safe driving, especially among teens who often think they’re invincible,” said Darcy J. Davis, chief executive officer of the Health Care District of Palm Beach County. “We’re proud that each year the Health Care District coordinates with our community partners to educate high school students about the risks they face before they climb behind the wheel.”
In 2016, nearly 3,000 drivers ages 15 to 19 were involved in a crash in Palm Beach County. The “Shattered Dreams” school presentations illustrate how poor decision-making, along with the use of social media while driving, can end in injury, death, criminal records and civil charges. The litigation can lead to a student’s parents losing their home, possessions and savings if the courts find the student to be responsible.
“We already have a plan for the prom,” said Amy Strassel, a Wellington High School graduate who watched in tears as her 17-year-old daughter, Emily, participated in the realistic mock-crash. “She won’t be driving, and midnight is her curfew. Nothing good happens after midnight.”
“It was an amazing experience,” said Emily Strassel, who acted the part of one of the injured students. “It was exciting to know that you could make a difference with the kids watching, but it was scary. My heart was racing as I was sitting in the car. I’ll never forget it.”
ABOVE: WHS student participants with Health Care District staff.