WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 29, 2010, 11:23 AM

A warning for young drivers

Fergus Falls, Minn. (WDAY TV) - Imagine getting a call in the middle of the night that your child has just been in a terrible car accident with a group of friends. To make it even worse, some of those friends are dead or seriously injured, and alcohol may be to blame.

On the heels of several deadly crashes on Minnesota roads killing seven teens in all, juniors and seniors at Fergus Falls high school had a chance to see a mock crash and just in time for Prom weekend.

A 911 call comes in to police, a passerby has come across a vehicle that has rolled, she sees four passengers inside, some are trapped, others aren't so lucky.

“Does anyone know CPR?”

The driver of the car stumbles out, disoriented and bloody with a gash to her head. As emergency workers arrive on scene, they immediately start working on victims. The driver is given a field sobriety test, and arrested. Thankfully this is all an act, but to the people involved, it feels very real.

“Started shaking and like, tearing up, and getting really scared. Just because it was, I was responsible for it.”

“It also got in to my emotion like, this could be actually somebody that this is really happening to them.”

Students who look on say it feels real to them too, seeing their classmates injured, even dead on the pavement. They call this experience life changing, now they'll think twice when the get behind the wheel.

“I will be more focused on the road, not texting and everything, and buckle up.”

Sergeant Andrew Schmidt from the Minnesota State Patrol says this exercise is meant to sink in to kid’s minds. He hopes the sort of shock factor that goes along with the crash will help kids be responsible now and in the future.

“We're all human beings and we're all going to make decisions. I just want them to be smart and make the decisions that they can live with.”

Because he says with one wrong decision, everything can change, and your life will never be the same.

“It does happen, and you lose people and there's nothing you can do to take it back.”

After the mock crash, students sat through a 45 minute lecture given by Sgt. Schmidt. This time, they learned about general safety while driving. Schmidt showed kids what it looks like and sounds like when an airbag explodes.

He explained to them how dangerous it can be to put their feet on the dashboard, or to hold the steering wheel wrong. Schmidt talked about the force behind the bag, and how it can injure drivers.

He also talked to students about being sleepy while driving, and how passengers can recognize signs that the driver may need to rest.