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Bristol Beat: Mock crash dramatizes drunk driving deaths

BRISTOL — As part of their yearlong effort to increase health and safety awareness among their peers, students in the Mount Abraham Union High School Vermont Teen Leadership Safety Program (VTLSP) organized and hosted a mock crash scenario and Ghost Out day on Friday, May 3.
The simulated accident scene included student actors staging a car crash caused by impaired driving. Bristol fire, police and rescue personnel as well as Vermont State Police responded to the scene, securing the vehicle and addressing the staged medical needs of the involved students.
Additionally, throughout the day, students held a Ghost Out, which meant that every 48 minutes (which is, according to the Centers for Disease Control, how often someone in the U.S. dies as a result of impaired driving) a student was “ghosted out” to represent the victim of an impaired driving crash. That student would put on a T-shirt with an impaired driving statement and remain silent the rest of the day. At the end of the day, all of the students who were ghosted out joined the VTLSP students on stage for an assembly. The focus of the assembly was to encourage students to think about the impact of their choices on friends and loved ones, and to go over things they could do to keep themselves and their friends safer.
Car crashes are the leading cause of death for all 15- to 20-year-olds, and many of these deaths could be prevented.  Through this dramatization, VTLSP students hoped to highlight the real and tragic results of impaired driving, and to encourage their peers to use safer driving practices, to speak up to their friends about driving safety, and talk with their parents about getting a safe ride home if it is ever needed. Drinking and driving among teens in high school has dropped by 54 percent since 1991, and the number of deaths due to impaired driving has also dropped significantly over the past 10 years. The students want to see these numbers improve even more.
The members of VTLSP say they are grateful to the many volunteers who contributed to this powerful event, including the many students and Mount Abe staff who helped throughout the day: student actors Sydney Alderman, Ian Bachand, Isabel Brennan, Turner Brett, Zoe Cassels-Brown, Gus Catlin, Quinn Davis, Brennan Gervia, Kaitlyn Gomez, Tyler Jewett, Rebekah Martin and Mikko Wells.  They also thank Jim Weening and Classic Stitching for donating T-shirts; Bristol Police Officer Otey; State Police Trooper Armstrong; Bristol Fire Department volunteers including Mount Abe student Will Elwell organized by Brett LaRose; and the Bristol Rescue crew organized by Ronnie Sunderland. 

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