The Southlake Police and Fire Departments will again participate in this year’s Game Over program for driving-age students in Carroll ISD. Organizers say the program puts a real face to the devastating effects of drinking and driving and distracted driving among teenagers.
Drinking and driving was once the main focus of the Game Over program but it has now expanded to include texting and driving due to an increase in driving fatalities and serious injuries among teenagers. Texting and driving now kills more teens than drunk driving according to the Centers for Disease Control. Statistics show that teens who text while driving were five times more likely than those who did not, to also drive impaired.
In 2012, there were more than 90,000 traffic crashes in Texas that involved distracted driving. These crashes resulted in approximately 18,500 serious injuries and more than 450 deaths according to The Texas Department of Transportation. Nearly 1 in 4 crashes involve distracted driving.
Southlake Police and Fire will be participating in a two-day mock exercise with students at Carroll High School on Thursday and Friday, May 23- 24. The Game Over program will begin with a mock crash scene on the morning of May 23 at 9:45 a.m. Careflite will land in the vicinity of Bicentennial Park as part of the mock exercise. According to organizers, the purpose is to allow students to experience a serious fatal crash in real time with living actors to really drive home the message that drinking and driving and texting and driving kills.
Several students will play the role of actors who have been seriously injured or will play dead in the mock exercise while classmates look on. The mock exercise is about as real as it gets for these students, parents and teachers without having to experience a tragedy in real life. Following the mock crash another actor will play the role of the Grim Reaper throughout the day pulling students randomly out of class to demonstrate how many people are killed each year due to distracted driving.
The Game Over program concludes Friday, May 24 with an assembly at the school. After participating in the two-day event police say they hope students who experience the mock fatal crash scene will make the right decision to never text and drive or drink and drive.
As you know, Southlake School Resource Officers are in the Carroll ISD schools as an added layer of protection to help keep children safe, but you might not be aware of all that they do to enhance the learning process for students both inside and outside of the classroom. SRO’s serve as mentors to students and provide opportunities for them to learn and grow and to get hands-on experiences they can use in their daily lives.
This week as part of National Distracted Driving month SRO Blas Hernandez created a unique way to get the message out to teens who drive. He had students paint their thumbs green so that when their hands grip the steering wheel they will see the Dragon green colors and it’s a reminder to not text and drive or drive distracted. It’s important to reach teens early because distracted driving is 6x’s more dangerous than driving while intoxicated. Here are some other startling facts:
(Visit www.distraction.gov / Faces to hear the personal stories of families left without their loved ones.)
Officer Hernandez, along with our Community Initiatives Coordinators, also provided a “Take the Pledge” card to teens to remind them of these statistics and to have them sign a pledge card promising to never drive distracted.
Officer Hernandez also teaches a course on cyber-bulling. His goal is to teach students how negatively cyber-bulling can impact another student’s life, health and well-being. These examples are just a sampling of the kind of mentoring and proactive educational instruction classes provided by our Southlake School Resource Officers. They not only provide a safe environment for students to learn and grow but our SRO’s are also helping students beyond the classroom.
For more information about our SRO programs feel free to talk with the SRO at your child’s school or contact the SRO supervisor Sgt. John Stokes at firstname.lastname@example.org.