Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Mock wreck discourages drinking, driving

By the Advocate Editorial Board
May 5, 2014 at 12:05 a.m.

Victoria West High School students received a wake-up call Thursday. In front of the school, a staged wreck featured some of their classmates, a few of whom were covered in blood and taken to hospitals.

It was all part of the Shattered Dreams program, which is an effort to use powerful visuals to deter students from drinking and driving. A drunken driving wreck was staged in front of the high school, and emergency response personnel from the Victoria Fire Department, the Department of Public Safety, the Victoria County Sheriff's Office, the Victoria Police Department and a medical helicopter from a hospital responded the same way they would have to a real wreck scene.

At least one student actor was transported from the scene in the helicopter, and another was taken away in a hearse. Another student actor - the school's salutatorian, Chase Bennett - played the drunken driver who caused the wreck and was arrested and booked by the Victoria Police Department. In addition, other students were taken from their classes that morning by a teacher portraying the Grim Reaper to illustrate the fact that every 15 minutes, a young person dies on the nation's roadways. After Thursday's scene, a fake memorial service was held Friday and included a casket procession.

This is not the first time the Shattered Dreams program has been performed in the Crossroads. In the past few years, DeWitt, Goliad and Calhoun County high schools have taken part in the effort to discourage students from drinking and driving using this program's powerful visuals to illustrate how quickly a life can change or be lost.

We applaud everyone who helped organize and performed in this demonstration. This is an important message that students need to understand. We always hope that teenagers will be smart and follow the law when it comes to alcohol, but we also know that is not always the case. That is why programs like this are so vital. Students need to see first-hand the effects of poor choices such as drinking and driving.

Because this is so important, we encourage parents to reinforce this lesson at home. Teenagers are in a transition period. They are moving from being children into adulthood, which means they are developing a more independent attitude and are receiving more personal freedom.

Parents, please take the time to sit down and talk with your teenagers about the importance of making responsible choices, especially when it comes to driving safely. As the program shows, it only takes one decision to impact multiple lives. Encourage your children, especially teenagers, to make the right choices. It could save multiple lives.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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