Daphne simulation stresses dangers of distracted driving


DAPHNE – As more than 100 Daphne High School students watched, paramedics wheeled an injured man past a woman lying beside a wrecked vehicle on the school campus.

As first responders covered the woman’s blood-stained body, Daphne firefighters forced open the door of the vehicle to free another victim.

The event Thursday morning was a simulation intended to stress the dangers of distracted driving to students. The Daphne Fire Department, Medstar Ambulance Service, Daphne police and Coastal Alabama Community College nursing students took part in the activity.

Daphne Fire Chief LeAnn Tacon said the simulation was intended to appear as realistic as possible.

“We actually have a wrecked vehicle,” she said. “We have coastal nursing students here that are going to be some patients for us and two of them are actually going to be trapped in this vehicle. Our guys are actually going to cut them out of the vehicle. We have an ambulance on site. We're going to package them just like we would patients. And one of our patients is going to be deceased. We're going to let the kids see that that person's laid out there and the reality that could happen with this.”

The scenario for the incident was that four Daphne High students were out after a Friday night football game. The driver was looking for a song on a music app and ran off the road, hitting a tree. Two students were ejected from the vehicle.

Tacon said the presentation was intended to make students aware of the dangers of distracted driving.

“Everyone thinks about texting and driving, but there's more to it,” Tacon said. “Some of these kids are looking at music apps, trying to find their favorite songs. Some of it is Instagram. There are different things that they're looking at and we want them to be aware of the dangers that they need to be aware that if they're driving, they need to aware at all times of their surroundings and that they are in charge of that vehicle and just one split second not paying attention, they could go off the road, get hurt, kill someone, kill themselves.”

She said that while students, as well as adults, may have driven while distracted many times, the next time could be the incident that took someone’s life.

“It's all of us. I'm not picking on teens, but I want them to realize just how dangerous it can be,” Tacon said.

She said Daphne High School counselors also were on hand to work with students if needed.

“This might be overwhelming for them to see this,” she said. “Some of them may have been in a wreck before and this may bring back memories for them so we're going to have counselors on hand to talk to them and we'll give them an opportunity after everything is over to ask us questions if they like.”