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SADD to host mock crash at RCS

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A mock crash will be demonstrated at RCS High School this afternoon. File photo

RAVENA-COEYMANS-SELKIRK — The novelty of holding a set of car keys is liberating for a young driver, but it also carries a heavy set of consequences when not maintained with adequate restraint.

The Students Against Destructive Decisions hope to remind their peers of this as it plans to host a dramatic SADD mock crash on Friday, May 12, at 12:30 p.m.

Don’t be alarmed should you drive by the high school at that time. The dramatization will take place outside the building. Students seeking to attend next week’s prom are required to attend.

The prospect of being involved in a motor vehicle accident presents itself each time we get behind the wheel, but none more so than young drivers, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 227,000 teenagers between 13 and 19 were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2020. But of all the car accidents that occur, crashes involving that same age group are three times as likely to be fatal.

“Teens are more likely than older drivers to underestimate or not be able to recognize dangerous situations,” according to the CDC. “Teens are also more likely than adults to make critical errors that can lead to serious crashes.”

According to agency studies, the leading factors contributing to the disparity in these numbers include speeding, use of alcohol or drugs, the failure to wear a seat belt, and distracted driving.  

Among U.S. high school students who drove in 2019, 39% said they had texted or e-mailed while driving at least once during the prior 30 days.

SADD Advisor Matthew Miller said the upcoming mock crash will be the first in several years. The orchestrated aftermath of a vehicular accident will play out accompanied by a narrative shared with observing students. It will involve several rapid response agencies from the community, including police, fire, emergency medical teams and students from their class.

“Our focus is going to be on helping kids make good decisions, and helping them be safe,” said Miller.

The event is planned just before Prom Weekend to keep the message fresh in student’s minds as they go out and celebrate, Miller added.

“With distracted driving, with driving high, [we’re] trying to make this a real visual situation for them so they can understand what goes on. Unfortunately, probably more than they [would] like,” he said

As often happens, the script will not provide for a happy ending. Another member of the community invited to perform during the dramatization is the local coroner who will be responsible for maintaining the fatalities. 

Albany County Sheriff Deputy Patti said similar dramatized scenes held at other schools have been effective at sending the message home to students.  

“When they see their friends in this scenario, you can see their faces. It does hit home,” she said.

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