Mock fatal car crash warns teens of distracted driving dangers

Published: Mar. 21, 2017 at 10:34 PM CDT
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Distracted driving is a dangerous and deadly problem.

The latest federal research finds 8 Americans are killed every day in crashes where drivers weren't paying attention to the road.

Texting-while-driving is an illegal, primary offense for all drivers in 46 states. Nebraska, however, only bans handheld cell phone use for novice drivers.

Recently, the Yutan Fire Department worked with Yutan High School to stage a mock fatal car crash. The goal: to show teenagers the deadly consequences of distracted driving.

The mock crash included crushed cars, panicked cries from "victims" (actors from Yutan High School), bloody injuries, and first responders.

Matt Thompson with the Yutan Fire Department told WOWT 6 News: "It's extremely emotional to the kids and extremely emotional to the parents, as well."

According to federal figures, at any given moment across the country, 660,000 drivers are using mobile devices while driving. Among the 15-19 year-olds involved in deadly crashes, 10 percent of them were distracted.

Inside the Yutan High School gym, doctors and nurses from Nebraska Medicine worked to save the mock distracted driving victims. Not all of them made it.

Saunders County Sheriff Kevin Stukenholtz told the students: "The absolute worst part of my job is when I have to go to somebody's home or hospital and tell someone they just lost someone who is very dear to them."

Yutan Principal Tim McNamara said he hopes his students learned a life-saving lesson. He told WOWT 6 News: "The most important message we give to young people today is being conscientious citizens. And part of that is not being distracted by driving."