This Friday morning, Sept. 22, Chaparral students in Scottsdale will get to envision losing one of their own in a fatal crash scene. Chaparral High School is at 6935 E. Gold Dust Ave.
“This age group is at the greatest risk for death in a vehicular crash,” says Adam Kohnen, Vice Principal at Chaparral High. “Our hope is that the scene brings a sense of reality that this can happen to them if they don’t make good decisions when they’re behind the wheel.”
The high school has committed to a year of teen driver safety, seat belt awareness and substance prevention. CHS received a grant from the Arizona Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family to fund a Prevention Counselor at the school. The position is to provide awareness and education on the dangers of underage drinking and substance abuse, reduce drinking and other substance use, and improve interpersonal relationships and mental health.
More teenagers and young adults die in traffic crashes than from any other cause — and alcohol and seat belt non-use is a major factor. Every year, alcohol-related crashes account for 35 to nearly 40 percent of all traffic fatalities. In the 15- to 24-year-old age group, nearly half of the traffic fatalities are alcohol-related. Last year in the United States — and every year for the past decade — between 5,000 and 6,000 teenagers were killed in motor vehicle accidents. This same demographic also has the lowest seat belt use rate. Each year, seat belt non-use accounts for more deaths among this age group. Studies estimate that using a seat belt reduces the risk of death or serious injury by 40 to 60 percent.
“The goal of a Fatality Awareness & Crash Training Simulation is to educate teenagers about the tragedy of alcohol-related crashes and the importance of seat belts,” says Scottsdale Fire Captain Dave Folio. “When teens are involved in these types of crashes, it is devastating to families and the school community.”
The mock crash scene is provided in collaboration with Scottsdale Police and Fire departments and PMT Ambulance. The event is supported by a Helping Hands grant from the Allstate Foundation. The demo begins in the theater at 8:45 am.