As lawyers who represent injured people, we have seen a sharp increase in the past several years of auto crashes caused by distracted drivers. We have seen firsthand the human tragedy and suffering—physically and emotionally—that is caused by distracted driving crashes. This is a tragedy that is becoming almost epidemic, and it is completely preventable. One of the most common distractions causing serious crashes and injuries is texting while driving.
Teenagers and younger drivers are disproportionately causing accidents and being injured or killed as a result of texting and driving. Texting and driving is the most common distraction but not the only one. Looking at cell phones to stream music, use a maps function, and other phone usage is also a cause of needless injury and death.
In order to create awareness of this dangerous practice, the personal injury lawyers at Varnum are proud and privileged to be a part of the Bronson Hospital Mock Trauma Event to be held at Mayor’s Riverfront Park on Saturday, November 19, from 10 a.m. to noon. This event will raise awareness among audience members and participants of the pervasive dangers of distracted driving. AAA Michigan estimates that 60% of teen crashes in Michigan are caused by some form of distracted driving.
The event is truly a community effort. In addition to Bronson Methodist Hospital, other organizations involved in the event include the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, Sgt. James Campbell of the Michigan State Police, local emergency response teams, and Care Flight, Inc. The experience will present a realistic chronology of events from crash to extrication and emergency treatment at the scene and in the emergency room. Teen actors and participants from multiple local high schools will portray the deceased and injured. The Kalamazoo Civic Theater and the Kalamazoo Institute for the Arts Media Center will also participate. Steve Carver, Executive Director of the Civic Theater, has generously supported the event by providing teen actors to portray the crash victims, as well as a narrator for a “play by play” of the dramatic presentation.
There will be two actual crashed vehicles with actors inside role playing either wounded or deceased crash victims. Emergency responders will extricate the victims from the vehicles. Some will be transported by actual ambulance and Air Care will transport a “critically” injured person by helicopter, which will land at the scene. This event will feel and look very real and allow everyone in attendance to feel the reality of the results of distracted driving.
The event is being well publicized to local high school students. In addition, a video production of the event will be created by KIA students who have generously donated their time and talents. The video will be used as a teaching tool for presentations at area high schools in the future.
Preventing injury and death from distracted driving is a great cause. As attorneys who represent those injured in car crashes and their families, we see firsthand the tragedy that often results. It is especially painful when children are involved. We applaud Bronson Hospital and our other community organizations for working together to draw awareness to the dangers of distracted driving, and we are gratified to do our part to make this program possible. Our community is working together to save lives and futures.