Emergency responders to bring distracted-driving message to Telstar
The Oxford County Sheriff’s Department, state police, Bethel Ambulance Service, the Bethel Fire Department and local residents who have survived car crashes will join forces next week and deliver a message about a preventable cause of death — distracted driving — to Telstar High School students.
A two-hour workshop next Friday, Nov. 5, will be followed in the spring by a mock accident demonstration at the school.
“The whole reason behind this is to make the students aware of the reality of the consequences of driving distracted,” said organizer David Hanscom of Bethel Ambulance. “For purposes of this program, distracted driving could include anything from driving under the influence, to texting or talking on a cell phone while driving, to driving when you are too tired, to driving with several people in the car and not paying attention to what you are doing, to driving too fast, and the list goes on and on. We’re hoping to make them a little more careful when they get behind the wheel so that we can decrease the number of fatal or serious injury accidents. Statistically, the number of young people affected by these types of accidents is very high. Death caused by motor vehicle accidents is one of the top causes of death of young people. We want to make our students aware of these ‘preventable’ causes of death.”
The presentations will include: Drugs/OUI, by members of the Oxford County Sheriff’s Department; Distractions and Statistics, by Trooper Kyle Tilsley of the Maine State Police; Decision Making, by Sheriff Wayne Gallant; and Accident Calls from Start to Finish, by BAS and the BFD. The Bethel Rotary Club, which with Hanscom was instrumental in the conception of the workshop, will also provide assistance behind the scenes.
The workshop will conclude with a presentation designed to bring the message home.
“We want to make students aware that fatal and serious injury accidents do happen right here in this school district,” said Hanscom. “The final presentation will be a wrap-up with two guest speakers from the community to tell their personal stories about accidents they were involved with that were caused by distracted or impaired driving.”
In addition, Hanscom will provide an overview of the spring program, and show a short video clip of a mock accident.
In the spring, he said, “The students will observe firsthand what an accident scene looks like, the response by Fire/Rescue/Police, and the emotions that everyone goes through. Then there will be a debriefing in which we discuss what we did and why we did it, and students will have an opportunity to ask questions.”
That event is expected to take place around the time of prom and graduation.