Wilhelm added that young drivers have to understand that making good decisions when behind the wheel saves lives and being a distracted driver — talking on the phone and not paying attention to the road — can be a death sentence.
MORE: Distracted driving drawing law enforcement attention
Last year, the number of reported distracted drivers rose 5 percent over the previous year, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, after rising 11 percent from 2014 to 2015.
“That phone call and text can wait and the most important thing is your life and the lives of those in your car and other vehicles. So take that into consideration not only now or in prom and graduation season, but also in the future,” he said.
Hamilton High School senior Olivia Mueller, right, plays the role of hysterical friend as she yells at Alex Oseguera during a mock crash presented by The Greater Hamilton Safety Council to share with students the dangers of distracted driving Wednesday, April 12 at Hamilton High School. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Kim Wentz, director of the Hamilton Safety Council, said some administrators feel that the mock crashes can be too intense for students to see, but he believes the no-nonsense message is needed.
“Prom week is this week and we try to do this to maybe show students the danger that they are facing not just this week but through the rest of their lives,” Wentz said. “We want them to see that driving is most dangerous thing they do. They do it everyday and they don’t respect the power of the vehicle and we want them to see that and realize how dangerous it is.”
Hamilton High School senior Jordan Thompson reacts during a mock crash to share with students the dangers of distracted driving Wednesday, April 12 at Hamilton High School. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Hamilton firefighter Joe Lorance was setting up the scene at 6 a.m. and he said the presentation is worth every minute it takes to make it happen.
“We are trying to save lives by doing this, and if just one life can be saved then it has been totally worth it,” Lorance said.
Download the free Journal-News app for the latest local news