Is that text worth your life?


Emma Harris

The west county fire department and police department set up a fake car crash to showcase, why distracted driving is so dangerous.

On October 21, 2021, Westminster Christian Academy had Town and Country officers explain the dangers of distracted driving to senior students. 

Chief Sadler, Chief Cavers, and Miss Cobble came in to talk to students before the demonstration of an accident occurred. Chief Sadler started off by talking about the recent uptick in cellphone related accidents and warned students of the risks checking just one single text or changing the radio or driving under influence can cause. “The decisions that you make influence so much more

than you think,” Sadler said. One single decision can land you and others in the hospital, in the grave, or in prison. “One moment and it’s over.” Your life will never look the same, he warned. 

Chief Cavens talked about the statistical side of things a little more. According to Cavens, about 420,000 cars drive past Westminster a day and he shows up to the scene of at least two major accidents per day. Most, he says, are not actually due to speeding, but distractions and alcohol. 

In the WCA parking lot, two cars were set up to reflect an actual crash, the two cars completely smashed in the front, the windows either completely shattered or peeling down. Seven students acted as the drivers and passengers in the two cars. The rest of the students watched through the rising smoke as two mildly injured students left the car, one of whom received a sobriety test, three students carried off on stretchers (one towards a helicopter), and white sheets draped over two students, signifying their death. One “dead” student was slumped over the hood of the car while the other laid on the ground, her “mother” crying out in an emotional display. The scene touched many people. 

According to Cavers, what students saw was a level one out of five crashes and it did not even properly convey what it is actually like. Sadler described screaming people, the stench of blood and gasoline and coolant, smoldering smoke, and shattered glass everywhere. 

Before they took questions, Sadler ended it on a poignant note. “Is that text message really worth it? Is being the cool kid by taking a shot worth it?”

One question asked by student Ian Henderson was one Sadler said is often asked: “Is there anything we can do before officers and firemen arrive on the scene?” Sadler said that if we can’t pull someone out of a fire, we should not attempt to do anything. The area is a crime scene, and the police and first responders do not want people getting in the way and disrupting their work. Instead, people should wait until they arrive. 

Sadler, Cavers, and Cobble warned students that one single decision can lead to a disaster that will follow them, their family, whoever they hit and their own family, for the rest of their lives.