WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – It’s officially prom season, and while many are preparing plans and outfits, students from David Crockett and Daniel Boone High School also received a dose of reality from the Washington County and Johnson City EMS.
The departments put on a drunk driving demonstration, which included the use of a helicopter and ambulance. The demonstration was part of the “Prom Promise” to encourage students not to drink and drive during the prom.
Between 2011 and 2015, Tennessee teens were involved in 205,326 motor vehicle crashes.
“Washington County is ranked number six as far as teen incidents with vehicle crashes and fatalities,” said Brandon Archer, deputy chief of Washington County EMS. “That’s not a good number six. That’s high.”
Those who hosted the demonstration along with Archer hope that making this scenario as real as possible will lower the teen accident rate in the area. Archer said these accidents can happen any day, not just on prom night, and he wants young viewers to be vigilant and responsible on the road.
“For all I know, there was somebody in that audience that was planning on making that decision later on for prom or even just in day-to-day life,” Archer said. “I’m hoping we’ve changed their mind, and they can pass that on and be more of an influence on their peers with their decision-making.”
Rachel Webber, a participant in the demonstration and member of the EMS program at David Crockett, said showing a real-life situation will hopefully help students think twice and take drinking and driving seriously.
“Drinking and driving never ends out well,” Webber said. “We had one arrested, one died, other people severely injured.”
She also said incidents like the one simulated at the Gray Fairgrounds Wednesday don’t just affect the ones drinking behind the wheel but innocent people as well.
“I definitely think people should realize how much pain it does to family members, friends, and the community as a whole,” Webber said. “This impacts everybody, and it’s important that young drivers stay responsible behind the wheel.”
At the end of the activity, students walked around the scene and pledged to drive safely during prom season and long after their senior event.