Klamath Falls, Ore. – Over 800 Klamath County high school students got a shocking look at the dangers of drunk driving, and distracted driving Thursday.
‘Operation prom night’ shows the devastating aftermath of a drunk driving crash through a realistic simulation.
“What you’re going to see is drivers and passengers who are either in prom dresses, or tuxedos,” explained Matt Hitchcock of Klamath County Fire District #1. “You’re going to see a little bit of trauma, and you’re going to see a whole lot of emotion.”
While the accident is simulated, the emotions are real.
“It’s really emotional,” said student Breanna Mestas. “And very scary.”
“It’s something that could happen,” explianed student Eduardo Gonzales. “And it’s our friends, watching them – and that’s just one more person gone in your life that could have been something big to you.”
Several of the people in the simulated accident are seriously injured.
Four people are killed.
Operation prom night also triggers emotions in emergency crews who have responded to the real thing.
“You start thinking, could this be a family member of my own?” Matt Hitchcock said. “Could this be somebody that I know, maybe a friend or relative?”
Student Ethan Shulmire said the message behind operation prom night is simple. “Not to drink and drive, that’s for sure – or get behind the wheel with somebody that’s impaired.”
Organizers believe that if they can prevent just one accident, it will all be worthwhile.
Klamath County hosted their first ‘Operation prom night’ in 2010.
The concept is now being shared at other schools across the state.