Students at a Nebraska high school recently had the opportunity to experience first-hand what it feels like to be involved in a drunk driving accident. The experience left the high school juniors and seniors determined not to drink and drive or get in a vehicle with a driver who was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Given the disproportionately high rate of alcohol or drug related accidents involving teenage drivers both parents and law enforcement officials are hopeful that the mock accident had the intended effect on the participants.
On October 14, students at Nebraska City High School exited the school and found what appeared to be a drunk driving accident in the school’s parking lot. Students acted out the scene for their classmates. What students saw when they reached the parking lot was a group of girls crying over the body of a classmate. The classmate was lying in a pool of (fake) blood after being ejected from a vehicle involved in the mock crash. One of the drivers in the mock accident, a high school senior, was clearly intoxicated as was his passenger.
The drama did not stop there. The deceased victim was actually zipped into a body bag and loaded into a hearse for transport to the morgue – just as would occur had the crash been real. Another victim who was trapped inside one of the vehicle required the jaws of life to extricate for transport to a nearby hospital. In addition, the drunk driver responsible for the deadly accident was sked to perform a series of field sobriety tests, after which he was handcuffed, read his rights, and placed in the back of a squad car, allowing the students to witness the legal ramifications of drinking and driving as well.
The students playing the roles of the grieving friends were given eye drops to use to create tears; however, as it turned out they didn’t need them. “We were going to because we didn’t think that we could make ourselves cry, but the effect of seeing it … it hit us and it was actual tears coming down our faces,” Burns said. “For me (it became real) when I was pushing John around because Kestyn, my heart was going, he wasn’t responding … .”
For any students, the lifelike scene appeared to accomplish what warnings and lectures had as yet failed to do. “It opened my eyes about the dangers of possibly not wearing a seat belt,” said another student. “And that not only can passengers be victims, but other drivers can be victims to drunk driving.”
Nebraska has a “zero tolerance” law that allows anyone under the legal drinking age (21) to be charged with driving under the influence with a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, of just 0.02 percent instead of the 0.08 percent used for drivers over the age of 21. In essence, an underage driver cannot have any alcohol in his or her system if planning to operate a motor vehicle in Nebraska.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence in Nebraska, or you have a child who has been charged with an alcohol related driving offense, contact the Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense attorney.