CANASTOTA, NY – With prom season just around the corner, several local emergency response agencies gathered at the Canastota Jr./Sr. High School Thursday morning to perform a mock car crash and educate teenagers about the dangers of drunk and distracted driving.
Members of the Canastota Central School District, Students Against Destructive Decisions, the Canastota Fire Department, Canastota Police Department, Wampsville Fire Department, Lincoln Fire Department, Greater Lenox Ambulance Service, and Mercy Flight organized and participated in the event. Students witnessed firsthand the efforts first responders go through to rescue victims of a car crash – from the initial fire siren to a helicopter medevac. Canastota students played the roles of the victims, including the driver who “caused” the crash and was “arrested” by police officers after a field sobriety test.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 2,800 teens between the ages of 13-19 were killed and 227,000 were injured in crashes in 2020 – an average of nearly eight teens killed per day.
The primary causes of these crashes are inexperience, lack of seat belts, distracted driving, speeding, and alcohol/drug use. These mock crashes are intended to explain to students, in visual and often graphic detail, what can happen when a teen gets behind the wheel under any of these conditions.
Members of the Canastota Department of Public Works, J. Homer Ball Funeral Home, and Madison County Emergency Management also assisted with the exercise.