At Spring Hill High School, students recently were given a glimpse of the consequences of driving while drinking or distracted. The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office coordinated with Johnson County Fire District 2, Johnson County Med-Act and Life Flight along with school staff members to stage a mock crash and response by first responders. The event was held prior to the school’s prom to raise awareness of the dangers of driving while impaired or distracted. Two wrecked vehicles along with students in stage makeup illustrated a scary scene for the onlookers, and the event included a realistic response by law enforcement, emergency medical personnel, fire department and the Life Flight helicopter.
Students learned that driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances radically raises the possibility of accidents. The MADD web site states that every 53 minutes on average, someone is killed in a drunk driving crash (9,878 people in total in 2011).  Every 90 seconds, someone is injured because of this entirely preventable crime.
“Teaching students about the perils of drunk or distracted driving is so important.  Hopefully by showing them what a real crash scene looks like, we can prevent a tragedy in the future,” said Public Information Officer Deputy Claire Young of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.
In addition, distracted driving puts teens and others at great risk. What is distracted driving? According the web site, it is any activity that diverts a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. These types of distractions include:
•    Texting
•    Using a cell phone or smartphone
•    Eating and drinking
•    Talking to passengers
•    Grooming
•    Reading, including maps
•    Using a navigation system
•    Watching a video
•    Adjusting a radio or music on a phone
As text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction. One statistic cited on the web site noted 11 percent of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.