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Five things parents can do to help their teens be safe on the road

It may have been red dye on the heads and faces of kids pretending to be hurt or dead, but students at Hoopeston Area High School saw up close what could happen if they drive drunk.

Carle Hoopeston Regional Health Center and Vermilion County first responders drilled to test their response to a drunken driving crash with multiple casualties. Hoopeston Area High School students played the parts of injured patients. Charlotte Strawser, RN, coordinator of the Emergency Department at Carle Hoopeston Regional Health Center, said the drill provides a reminder for parents to talk to their children about safe driving.

“Parents must stay involved with a teen’s driving just as they do with their grades, athletics and other activities,” Strawser said.

Hoopeston Area High School Principal Larry Maynard was pleased to see his students so attentive during the demonstration. Maynard added, “This was a very rich and engaging educational experience for our students that highlighted choices that they can make to protect themselves and others. All the agencies in this drill really captured the attention of our students.”

Strawser explained, “When students see their peer carried out in a body bag and another being handcuffed, it hits home. Having the Hoopeston Fire Department using the Jaws of Life to extract two trapped teens in the car taught a strong lesson about making good driving choices.” Here are five things parents can do to help their teen be a safe driver:

  • Provide significant supervised driving training, and continue to do so after the teen gets their license.
  • Train teen on a variety of road types (urban, rural) and in different conditions.
  • Talk with teen about state laws — and use a driving contract to set rules. Encourage teen to speak up when they feel unsafe in a vehicle to stop unsafe driving.
  • A teen “license parent withdrawal form” is available through the Illinois Secretary of State’s office for parents to cancel their child’s driving privileges (under age 18) if the parent feels their child is not ready for the responsibility.

“After the drill we cleaned the mock blood off of our actors and everyone returned to reality. I pray we never have the drill scenario play out in real life,” Strawser said.