Grade 10 students in Bonnyville spent Thursday morning at the Centennial Centre in Bonnyville being shown the consequences of unsafe driving. Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority, Fire and EMS, as well as doctors from Covenant Health Bonnyville Hospital played out an accident scenario that will surely leave a lasting impression on the teens.
The scene played out with five volunteer student actors, where one vehicle had an impaired driver, and another a distracted driver. The first vehicle’s driver was impaired by drugs and blew through a stop sign, crashing into the second vehicle where the driver was distracted by friends in the vehicle on their phones.
Through the 26 minute demonstration, Regional Deputy Fire Chief Jay Melville, described the scenario and the efforts emergency crews would have to go through to save the car crash victims.
The actors played out the scenes with hollowing screams and realistic portrays.
Students watched as emergency crews had to cut open the roof of the vehicle to get the occupants out and upon opening the roof discovered one passenger had flown to the front of the vehicle because she was not wearing a seatbelt.
Another passenger had died.
The scenario included paramedics arriving on scene, and even the mortician coming to claim the body.
The mock collision then went inside the Centennial Centre where there was a mock emergency room set up. Students watched as doctors tried to save the actors lives. Another occupant died on the table.
The collision may not have been real, but the emotions were. Some students were visibly moved by the presentation.
Sam Duckett was one of the actors and spoke to the crowd of students following the mock collision, “I get it, it’s the generation we live in.” She spoke of how she sometimes will look at the clock on her phone and how she’s had some close calls. “This isn’t a joke.”
Mieke De Freites portrayed the driver in the scenario, “we take things for granted because our cellphones, or drinking or whatever are more important.” Mieke urged the students to be aware while they are driving, “you look at your phone for five seconds… or maybe more, you’re giving up your life or maybe someone else’s.”
Fire Fighter Rob McDonald spoke of experiences he’s had on the force, and those accidents that stay with you, “I drive past areas on the highway and I’ll remember [the person who died there].” He spoke of the screams and smells that cannot be duplicated.
“There’s a sound that comes out of someone’s voice when they’re in that much pain, you don’t want to know.”
Young drivers have more to distract them while driving, said McDonald, “there’s a lot changing for young people. Back in my day, the biggest concern we had was impaired driving. Now it’s drugs, texting, all that kind of stuff. Anything that can distract or impair you is out there.”
He spoke of the mock collision, “this is going to be a scene that is going to start coming around more.”
Students also heard from an accident victim who lost the use of his legs, Kevin Brooks. He was a real-life example of the consequences of distracted driving.
The family of Taylor Brundige spoke to the students. Taylor was a Bonnyville teenager who lost her life just a few years ago to an impaired driver. Taylor and her sister were at a party, her sister stayed sober to drive Taylor home safely. Another party-goer, did not make the same choice.
The two vehicles sadly collided on the highway, due to the young man’s impairment and killed Taylor.
Taylor’s story hit home for a lot of the students.
The mock collision was designed to show students what can happen when they are not fully responsible behind the wheel of a vehicle. That it’s not just them. It’s the lives of the other people on the road and they’re passengers; as well as the family and friends left at home.