Archived Stories for Union County Public Schools
VIP for a VIP Encourages Safe Driving
Did you know that that North Carolina is the second deadliest state for teen driving? Or that statistics show that over 40 percent of all teen fatalities are due to vehicle accidents? Those sobering facts were presented at the VIP for a VIP (Vehicle Injury Prevention for a Very Important Person) program on May 19. The program was divided into two parts with speakers and video presentations in the morning and a realistic reenactment of a fatal automobile accident in the afternoon.
The panel of speakers in the morning session included local emergency workers who described their roles in teen car crashes as well as a mother who lost her son in an automobile crash just before he was to graduate from high school. The powerful message about choices and consequences reminded students that speeding or driving while impaired were only two of the possible driving distractions they could face. Texting, not wearing a seat belt, carrying multiple young passengers, and inexperience were also important factors.
The mother tearfully recalled the events surrounding her son’s death in an automobile accident in 2010. For many students, her speech had the most emotional impact.
“What impacted me most about “VIP for a VIP” was when the mother of the senior who passed away spoke about him and what happened to him. It showed me that it is real and that it can happen to anyone at any time,” said junior Emily Joy Maye.
“The mother's story about her son who didn’t get to graduate because he died in an accident was really touching. I think that hearing it from a mother is awakening,” said senior Sophie Smith.
Junior Alexa Augone said, “All I could think about was how I never wanted my little brother to have to face anything like what we saw.”
The afternoon session began with a police officer telling the students the details of what happens when a car going 55 mph hits a tree and the driver is not wearing a set belt. A very realistic scene of a fatal car crash was set up in the student parking lot to illustrate his points. Students could hear the thoughts of the victim as emergency crews used the jaws of life to dismantle the wrecked car and get him out. They were able to witness the emotion of the parents who arrived at the scene of the crash and realized their son was the victim.
Principal Kim Schroeder said that CHS has been waiting for three years to host the VIP for a VIP program to encourage safe driving.
“I truly believe that this was the most impactful presentation our students have seen,” Schroeder said. “Every one of our students is a VIP. More than anything, we want them to understand the dangers of distracted driving and to drive safely. This program helped illustrate the impact that accidents have; not only on the victims, but on their families and friends, and even on the first responders.”
The VIP for a VIP program definitely made an impact on our students.
Senior Matt Allen said, “I never use my phone when I drive anymore.”
“It changed the way I drive by always buckling up, even when I’m not driving, and to keep my phone out of sight,” said junior Chase Pavelich.
Senior Jake Richer said, “I always make sure that everyone who gets into my car buckles up immediately.”
“I am going to take much more caution when driving and minimize my distractions,” said junior Anna Martinez.
CHS would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the members of the entire "VIP for a VIP" team for sharing their experiences in order to make a difference in the lives of our students.
For more information on VIP for a VIP, visit http://www.vipforavip.com/.
Written by: Paula White - Media Specialist
Posted: May 27, 2015 by Paula White