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Southern Boone High School holds mock car accident exercise

ASHLAND, Mo. (KMIZ)

Southern Boone High School officials gave the public a heads-up Monday morning about a crash simulation planned outside the school.

Several emergency vehicles -- along with public safety workers -- were in front of the school commons parking lot at 1:30 p.m. for the mock crash, the district said in a tweet. The event included students playing patients, and a situation where two public service workers were ran over by a distracted driver.

Fall is a busy season for young drivers. Part of the reason this demonstration was done is to serve as a reminder to new drivers at Southern Boone the reality of driving and not paying attention.

Rebekah Hammett, the coordinator of the event, also played the role of a mother whose daughter was killed in the simulation.

"Today I got to see my daughter in a docu-drama where she was deceased, and it was heart-wrenching," Hammett said. "As a parent, we want you to understand that we love you and that if something happened to you it would be horrible and to always be safe."

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, maturity and development of the human brain does not finish until people are in their mid- to late 20s. The part of the brain controlling skills such as planning and impulse control is the last to develop, which could lead to teens engaging in riskier behaviors while driving.

Two of those risky behaviors: Driving while impaired and distracted.

A guest speaker appeared today at Southern Boone after the demonstration to talk about their personal experiences. Alexis Kelm is a freshman at the University of Missouri, and is from Mexico, Missouri. Not long ago, she was in a car accident after riding with a friend who was under the influence of drugs. The airbags did not deploy -- and though she was wearing a seatbelt -- she was ejected from the vehicle and left paralyzed.

Kelm is now a public speaker, making appearances to share her story and warn others.

"This could happen to anyone," Kelm said. "It doesn't matter who you are. I want you to be able to stand up and put your pants on in the morning. I would kill to be able to do that again. Just please be smart and make good decisions."

In 2021, 71 people died because of distracted driving in Missouri, while 58 people ages of 10-19 lost their lives in 2021 due to impaired drivers, according to the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety.

Traffic safety experts said there are three types of distractions: Manual, visual and cognitive. Manual distractions are when a driver removes their hands from a wheel. Visual distractions involve a driver taking their eyes off the road. Cognitive distraction happens drivers let their minds wander.

Texting is a prime example of all three. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, sending or reading a text for 5 seconds while traveling 55 mph takes your eyes off the road long enough to cover the length of a football field.

Article Topic Follows: Education

Ethan Heinz

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