VIP for VIP

by on November 7th, 2010
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A silence clouds the senior parking lot at Hunt High School as juniors and seniors watch a reenactment of a wreck, and attempted saving of a teenage boy’s life. “I’m only 17! Why is this happening to me?” the thoughts of the boy echo around the school grounds, “Mom, don’t let them take me away! I’m not hurting!”

On September 21st 2009, upperclassmen paired up with students from Wilson Christian, CCS, and Greenfield to see a demonstration known as “VIP for a VIP” (Vehicle Injury Prevention for a Very Important Person). This program shows young drivers the dangers involved when you make bad choices, or don’t think things through before getting behind the wheel. In the morning session students sat in the gym and listened to several speakers from law enforcement officers, to a parent who lost his son. “There’s always an empty chair at our table now.” The father says, as his eyes start to glisten with tears. After the speakers finished, the students watched several short videos showing the effects of drinking and driving, texting and driving, and how choices affect everyone, not just the people who make them. The first part of the program came to a close as JROTC brought out flowers to put around a coffin, in remembrance of teens that died in car crashes. A respectful hush fell over the gym as students walked back to class, minds and hearts heavy with all the things they had just seen and heard.

“Our Mission is to bring the sight, sounds, and smell of a fatal vehicle accident to the doorstep of high school students in a dramatic way in hopes of embedding the consequences of these sometimes senseless events into the minds of teenage drivers” (www.vipforavip.com). This program definitely follows its mission! Students gathered on bleachers to watch the second session, as volunteers uncovered a wrecked car. Gasps were uttered as a voice was heard, speaking the thoughts of the 17 year old boy in the car. He crashed into a telephone pole because he was drinking and driving. Police rushed onto the scene, followed by the fire department and EMTs. Noses wrinkled at the smell of alcohol as policemen poured it out on the ground. Tears streamed down faces as onlookers saw the distraught mother and hurt father come unto the scene, to see CPR being done to their son, who did not survive the fatal crash. “Not my baby! Save my son!” screams the mother, as the EMTs zipped the body bag shut, and wheeled the young man into the ambulance. This touching scene, brought to the minds of all onlookers how real these situations are, and how they can effect anyone, even when they least expect it.

An Allstate document states, “Last year in the United States – and every year for the past decade – between 5,000 and 6,000 teenagers were killed in motor vehicle accidents. No other kind of hazard or behavior comes close to claiming as many teen lives. And in addition to those killed each year, some 300,000 are injured.” This program is trying to prevent teen drivers from becoming one of those mentioned in the statistics. They’re trying to make teenagers more aware and more careful. Yellow fliers were passed out to each student who attended the program. These papers were contracts signed by the student and parent promising that they will be careful and safe drivers, and as parents make sure their child is doing what they’ve promised. All in all, this program touched many people, and impacted many students’ lives. Hopefully, this is making North Carolina a safer place for teens, and other people, to drive! So, buckle up, think before you drink and drive, or pick up that phone behind the wheel. Your life is worth so much more than the song on the radio, or the phone in your pocket!


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