Coolum State High School Year 12 students were confronted with a shockingly real crash scene on Wednesday as part of a docu-drama performance aimed at educating them about road trauma.
The presentation, coordinated by safety campaigner and educator Barry Colliss, involved real emergency service providers and student actors in a road carnage scene designed to demonstrate the potentially devastating results of driving under the influence or at speed.
With just three weeks until the students finish their formal education and head out into the real world, the simulated crash scene served as a reminder for the newest generation of drivers to be extra careful on the roads.
Drama students from Coolum High played the accident victims, with the full impact of the tragic scene hitting home when one of their own, a ‘fatally wounded’ Jesse Matthews, was zipped into a body bag and collected by the directors of Drysdale Funerals.
Real life crash survivor Wayne Horkings, who has been confined to a wheelchair for the past 27 years, shared his powerful story with the students, saying he didn’t want anyone else to end up like him.
Mr Horkings sustained spinal injuries in a crash that killed two of his friends. He had only been out of high school for eight months and his injuries were caused by a drunk and speeding driver travelling at 160kms an hour.
Police Constable Pierre Senekal made a dramatic mock arrest of the vehicle’s ‘drink driver’ while the AGL Action Rescue Helicopter Doctor and Flight Paramedic gave students an up-close-and-personal look at their roles in stabilizing and transporting seriously injured patients.
Local Solicitor Ray Barber was also on hand to give advice on the legal implications of dangerous driving or driving under the influence of alcohol, once again reinforcing the flow-on effects of car crashes.
DocuDrama coordinator Barry Colliss developed the crash re-enactment program to help Year 12 students fully understand the causes and consequences of road crashes.
He has been taking his program to schools across Queensland for the past 20 years.
“The main message is to get the kids to stop and think about what they’re doing so they can be safe road users,” Mr Colliss said. “It all about teaching them to be safe, competent drivers now, so we can lower the road toll in the future.”
Coolum High School Year 12 coordinator Belinda Sparkes said the students took the presentation very seriously.
“They’ve got things like schoolies and graduation and perhaps they need to think carefully about some of the situations they’re going to confront over the next few weeks as well as the rest of their lives,” she said.
“They can’t think it won’t happen to them; and using their peers as part of the process makes them realise that it is real and it could be one of them.”
The docu-drama coincided with the release of an RACQ commissioned research report that sees three-quarters of Queensland driver admit to speeding. Worryingly, the survey revealed that 4% of drivers speed through school zones and that most drivers believe speeding is more of a problem now than it was five years ago.