Orchard Park High School holds pre-prom demonstrations to prevent impaired driving

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — As Orchard Park High School students are getting their tuxes and dresses ready for their prom, the school partnered with local first responders to demonstrate the consequences of driving while impaired.

“Our senior prom is tomorrow, so they can see the consequences, physically and emotionally of what a car crash could potentially look like if they make poor decisions,” said Amanda Mohler, a social worker at Orchard Park High School.

The annual demonstration makes the crash make everything look and sound real, hoping to prevent this type of scene from becoming a reality for OPHS students.

“It makes it more real, seeing their peers being involved in this stuff, rather than a story they might hear online,” said student AJ Beck, who was involved in the demonstration. “Seeing actual friends be in this type of situation, this makes it all more real.”

According to a 2020 survey done by the CDC, 29% of drivers ages 15-20 who were killed in car crashes that year had been drinking.

Every year around prom night, OPHS drama students work alongside Orchard Park Police, Orchard Park Fire, EMS, and this year, Mercy Flight, to show their senior class the physical and emotional consequences to which drinking and driving can lead.

The demonstration started with a video produced by the students of a scenario involving students who decided to drink after prom, and then getting behind a wheel.

“The video, and hopefully the scene itself, really just promotes to everyone there to never drink and drive,” drama student Jackson Brauer said. “We really put in the emotions and everything so we hope this turns out real well.”

The drama students involved were told to improvise during the demonstration, and some didn’t know the outcomes of their respective characters, just like the real fears and unknowns of a crash.

“Most of them might not experience this, and hopefully none of them will,” Mohler said. “It’s a great learning experience.”

If you know a student who is going to prom, or if you’re a student, AAA asks students to make a PROM-ise. Promise to not drive impaired or distracted, to not let friends drive impaired or distracted, and promise to parents to get home safely or call them for help.

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Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.

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