HHS SADD Club works to prevent distracted driving accidents

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The 2017 Mock Accident involved eight students in SADD. This year’s accident will again involve eight students and take place on April 27, 2018. (Broadcaster/Anna Levin)

The leading cause of death in teenagers is distracted driving.

This Friday, April 27, a club at Hershey High School (HHS), Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), will present the student body with a mock accident. The mock accident will involve some of the school’s student body, and is used as an example of how the students’ destructive decisions can make a negative impact.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Motor Vehicle Safety, one in ten teenagers in high school drink and drive. SADD focuses on reducing that number across the country by educating the high schoolers about the negative, deadly impacts.

SADD strives to do this by “empowering young people to successfully confront the risks and pressures that challenge them throughout their daily lives.” SADD focuses on helping educate students about the risks of poor decisions and promoting positive life decisions.

Clare Canavan, SADD member, said, “I joined the club to inform students around HHS about the dangers of drug and alcohol use and to create a positive school environment.”

Tara Blackburn, HHS SADD administrator and school nurse, said, “Each month we [SADD] spread awareness about a topic that students are challenged by each day. We cover topics such as drinking and driving, mental health awareness, texting and driving, vaping, etc.”

Maria Goldman and Tori Moss organized this year’s mock accident. At the mock accident, student actors from HHS play out the aftermath of a car accident; it lasts about 40 minutes. According to previous attendees in past years, it has moved students to tears.

“The main message of the mock accident is to spread awareness about drunk driving and to realize that it is not only you that is affected by your bad choices,” Moss said.

Blackburn also said, “The goal in having the mock accident is to depict a real life event that may occur if you choose to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”  

The viewing students go out around the “accident” and watch as the acting students begin to demonstrate the results of the accident.

The Hershey Fire Department, Derry Township Police Department, and first responders are also involved with the accident. There are additionally parents of the victims that arrive on scene, and act along with the students involved, as if their child had actually been injured or killed.

“By involving all of the emergency response personnel, they demonstrate the actual steps involved when responding to a motor vehicle accident. By including a parent, it illustrates the utter despair a parent would endure if this event would ever occur in their life,” said Blackburn.

The SADD club hopes to remind students to be responsible and safe during this exciting time of life.