LIVONIA – Teachers and members of law enforcement at the Livonia Central School are hoping a mock DWI crash will give students a wake up call to the dangers of drinking and driving.
“We just want the kids to be aware that during prom time that drinking can lead to a serious accident or even death. So any awareness that we can give them to prevent any kid from getting involved in one of these is our goal,” said Livingston County Sheriff’s Deputy Marty Herkimer.
Outside the high school a mock simulation was conducted on May 11, the day before the school’s prom. The simulation is something that Principal John Gammon admits was hard to watch but he hopes when seeing it students will realize what can really happen if they drink and drive.
“It is really powerful to see the event when it takes place. There is so much energy and passion that is in it. It is tough to forget what you see and I think when you see it in person it is tough to get those images out of your mind,” said Gammon.
They are images that are becoming all too familiar that is because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says every day, about 37 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes. It comes out to one person every 39 minutes. In 2021, 13,384 people died in alcohol-impaired driving traffic deaths, a 14% increase from 2020. They are increasing numbers and a mock DWI simulation that students admit was not only difficult to watch but also to be part of.
In the exercise, senior Lila Meyers played the student killed in the DWI.
“It is really upsetting, even when they were shaking my body yesterday in practice it was really emotional. It is just really upsetting to watch and be part of,” Meyers said. “I hope they just become aware of how real it can be and they just realize that it could happen to anyone and I hope they just take it seriously.
“We always drive together, so it is just so real that this could possibly happen,” said Meyers.
In the drill Meyers was driving with her four friends when they were hit by a car driven by two male students. Meyers and her friends were not drinking but the driver of the other car was.
“We had a couple students here yesterday when we were just practicing and they said it was really hard to watch. We are hoping that people do not take it lightly. I am the driver, we are not drinking we are sober and they are pre-gaming driving and they were the drinkers,” said senior Cami Rode.
It is a simulation that Gammon, the principal, said he is hoping to have every other year and one that Amara Evans who is now a senior still remember watching when she was in middle school.
“I feel like just seeing all of the upper classmen when I was in middle school do it was just so scary and it definitely left an impact on me even in middle school when I could not drive. I wanted to give that same impact to students our age and younger, just so that it leaves that same impact on them.
It is scary and even being in it and knowing it is fake is terrifying to be in it. We are all really close friends and for our friend to fake die, it is hard to watch,” said Evans.
They are images that both teachers and students says are upsetting but ones that they hope will be just one more step in preventing students from making a bad and life changing choice.
“I think people underestimate it and say that it won’t happen to me. I am hoping this will put it into perspective and shows people what could happen,” said senior Matthew Charlevois.