Drink-driving accident staged

First, some numbers.

In 2011, there were 259 fatal crashes on New Zealand roads involving people under the age of 24; 77 accidents caused by drink-driving; and 4240 teens convicted of drink-driving.

Now the scenario.

On Friday, August 23, Blue Mountain College pupils witnessed the aftermath of a staged ''serious accident'' caused when a car crashed into a tree.

Two of the occupants had to be rescued with the jaws of life.

Mr XY (17) suffered a compound leg fracture and serious lacerations to his head after hitting the front windscreen.

Mr AB (15) was treated for neck and spinal injuries.

The driver, Miss BC (18), was uninjured.

Miss BC was found to be under the influence of alcohol, resulting in her immediate arrest.

The three teens had been at a party earlier in the night and Miss BC was said to be the most sober of the three.

Fire officers who responded to the accident said that although Miss BC was behind the wheel, the two passengers were just as responsible for the accident. They could have tried to stop her from driving. And they made the choice to get in the car.

Mr XY and Mr AB are both in a stable condition and recovering in hospital.

The Blue Mountain College Students Against Driving Drunk (Sadd) committee, with the help of the Tapanui Fire Brigade, West Otago St John and the local police officer, staged the mock crash to demonstrate the effects of driving drunk.

I am lucky enough to be a member of this committee.

Students Against Driving Drunk is a non-profit organisation aimed at educating teens about the dangers of driving drunk with the aim of reducing the harm caused on our roads by intoxicated young people.

This year we are making an effort to really promote this message in our school.

So far we have held the Stand Up and Be Counted activity in assembly, which demonstrates the amount of people affected by one crash, and more recently our mock car crash.

The reality of this crash really hit home for many pupils, showing its effectiveness.

We are now planning a Tear Drop Day, where selected pupils will have their faces painted and will be wearing black.

These pupils cannot communicate or take part in normal everyday activities with their peers, symbolising the number of teens killed because of drink-driving in New Zealand.

We hope this activity will show the effect of losing these individuals, especially in a small community like ours.

• By Ashley McDonald Year 13, Blue Mountain College

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