More than 200 Year 12 Ashburton College students will see first-hand the effects and consequences of a fatal car crash during Road Crash Day on Friday 5 June 2015.
Ashburton District Council Project Officer Rachael Boyd says the community initiative aims to raise awareness amongst newly-licensed drivers who are most at risk of being involved in accidents.
The day will start with the students witnessing a mock-crash which will involve, and be played out by, four Year 13 drama students from the school.
"The mock-crash is a graphic re-enactment designed to encourage students to be responsible drivers and more aware of their surroundings when they are on the road," says Mrs Boyd.
Students will then go to the Ashburton Trust Event Centre where they will hear from Brent and Christine Laurenson who will share their story about their son who was killed in a car crash on his 18th birthday.
After that, four workshops will be held by the New Zealand Fire Service, Students Against Dangerous Driving (SADD), Ashburton Community Alcohol and Drug Service (ACADS) and St Johns Ambulance. The workshops will focus on showing what emergency services do when they attend a crash, as well as messages about safe partying and peer pressure.
In the afternoon, students will hear from Lisa Collins, whose son was hit by a car when he got off a school bus and then died from resulting injuries 25 days later.
The event will conclude with Christian Gallen from Attitude (the local youth education division of The Parenting Place), who will talk to the students about the information and skills they will need to negotiate their adolescent years and build meaningful lives.
"The whole aim of the forum is to promote safe driving and help young people avoid becoming a road crash statistic," says Mrs Boyd.
Mrs Boyd says a high proportion of fatal crashes involving young drivers (15–24 years old) occur on the open road. This is due to the typically high speeds on these roads, which results in a higher impact crashes.
"Alcohol and speed are the major contributing factors for young drivers involved in fatal crashes.
"We hope that the event will be enough to make the students stop and think twice and ultimately, to become more responsible drivers and passengers for life," Mrs Boyd says.