‘It will never happen to me’ is a common response among teens with their whole life ahead of them.
But those seemingly bullet-proof youths have been given a taste of “reality” in a special road accident exercise.
Ipswich Police District combined with Emergency Services to stage a simulated fatal traffic scene following a school graduation party.
Around 900 Year 12 Ipswich students attended the City Hope Church to take part in the exercise.
The students watched a party scene on the big screen before they were taken outside where an accident scenario is played out.
What they are confronted with is their fellow classmates covered in blood and dangling from the bonnet of a car crash.
Redbank Plains State High School student Maddison Needham (pictured below on left) said the scene had a significant impact.
“It makes it more real, especially when you see someone from your school, rather than just a stranger, sitting there in the crash. You can connect with it better, like wow that could be a friend or family member,” she said.
Redbank Plains State High School student Olivia MacGregor (pictured below on right) said it was good for P platers to see what can happen.
“It’s really emotional,” she said.
Ipswich District Crime Prevention Coordinator Sergeant Nadine Webster has been involved with the project since its inception 12 years ago.
“Unfortunately this is something that emergency services are having to deal with all too often and making these young people think about the life long consequences of the fatal five, including physical, psychological, financial and legal is so important,” she said.
“The affect that road trauma can have on individuals, families and communities is highlighted as well as raising awareness of safe party strategies, rights and responsibilities at schoolies, healthy relationships, drugs and alcohol.”
After the students watch their friends being cut out of the crumpled vehicle, assessed by ambulance officers and the driver arrested for drug use, they head back inside where Kathy MacDonald (pictured below), from the Marcus MacDonald Charity, has a talk to them about what happens after an accident.
“I lost my son Marcus in a car crash when he was 19 years old,” she said.
“I get goose bumps when I watch the simulated crash and the emotions all come back so when I go inside to talk to the kids afterwards I’m talking from my heart, not from my head.”
Marcus and another backseat passenger died, so their lives were in the hands of the driver Mrs MacDonald said.
“I try to get through to them that it’s not just them (the driver). They need to be aware that if they have passengers and if anything happens to them they will be mourned and missed forever.
“It’s good for the children to hear about what happens after a crash and how the ripple effect affects everyone afterwards.”