In Texas, a Mock Crash Teaches Students the Horrors of Drinking and Driving

If some high school juniors and seniors in San Antonio look as if they just lost their best friend, it’s because, in a way, they have. Last month a program called Shattered Dreams has given them a vivid demonstration of the harm that drinking and driving can do.

Mock crash shows Texas students the horrors of drinking and drivingThe program staged a grisly, realistic collision using student actors. The scene included mangled cars, police, paramedics, and realistically simulated injuries and death.

To the observers at Reagan High School, the scene looked terrifyingly real, down to the blood, the sirens, and the stretchers. One of the student drivers was handcuffed and taken to jail.

Shattered dreams was devised by The Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission 20 years ago, with a view toward replacing the traditional warnings about alcohol and crashes with a visual demonstration that causes a visceral reaction in people. The campaign fosters the realization that drinking and driving can be a matter of life and death.

Teenagers are a notoriously difficult group to reach. They are risk-prone, impulsive, and they lack good judgment. Worse, they tend to believe they are invincible. All of these factors cause typical warnings to fall on deaf ears. Hence Shattered Dreams, in which lectures and finger-wagging give way to a vivid image of the horrors that drinking and driving lead to.

Judging by the reactions of the students, the message of Shattered Dreams hits home. Kudos to the many agencies that collaborated in this dramatic and effective program.