Thursday, February 16, 2012
Street Smart intended to prevent injury, save lives
By SUE WATSON
Students in grades 9-12 at H.W. Byers School and Bethlehem Church School heard straight talk and saw graphic images of authentic automobile wreck scenes recently from firemen with the Street Smart Program.
The program is designed to warn high-schoolers about unsafe decisions that lead to accidents, life-time injury and death. It shows what paramedics and firefighters see when a wreck occurs that could have had a different outcome if choices had been made differently.
The consequences of driving without a seat belt, or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, were presented in their harsh and raw reality.
Scott Neusch and Joseph H. McCluan made the presentations using a mix of fun cliches and language and serious straight talk.
The accidental deaths showed on film could have all been prevented, they said, if teen drivers thought things through before getting into an unsafe situation in a vehicle.
The films have been shown to hundreds of thousands of kids and picture real accidents – taking viewers into a real-life drama of what first responders see and have to do when a teen makes an unsafe decision. The films are timed to warn graduating seniors and those who may attend proms and who may be tempted to take risks.
Drugs and alcohol affect judgement and those who use them may be tempted to make spur-of-the-moment decisions that have not been thought out. The common excuses made for not wearing a seatbelt were reviewed.
Some common temptations to talk on the cell phone or text message while driving also may have deathly consequences.
A person not wearing a seatbelt is 25 times more likely to die if ejected from a vehicle during an accident. SUVs have large windows and are subject to roll-over-type accidents where a person not wearing a seatbelt can become a projectile and go through the windows.
Some common excuses are it’s not cool to wear a seatbelt, or “we’re just going down the street,” or “I just don’t think about it.” Most accidents take place from one to three miles from home and at a speed of 30 miles per hour.
Every single person riding in a vehicle needs to buckle up because the one not wearing a seatbelt can become a lethal projectile to other passengers if an accident happens.
A few simple choices such as buckling up, not riding in a car with a driver who is under the influence, and not texting or talking on the phone while driving can save lives and prevent life-altering injuries such as spinal cord or head injuries that may leave a person in a wheelchair for life, if they survive.
The number one killer of high school students in the United States is a car wreck. Somebody dies in a car wreck every 12 minutes in the United States.
The Street Smart program was sponsored in DeSoto County Schools and in Marshall County by A&B Distributing Company as a part of the company’s commitment to fight underage drinking and drunk driving.
“Many of our employees are parents, and we’re committed to helping our young people stay safe,” said Joan Lunsford, awareness and education coordinator with A&B Distributing.
Street Smart is presented by Stay Alive From Education (S.A.F.E.), a non-profit created by firefighter/paramedics in Miami-Dade County, Florida. The program is dedicated to reducing teen injuries and fatalities.
Street Smart at H.W. Byers was coordinated by Brenda Bailey with the Marshall County School District.
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