*All photos provided by Rick Grosvent
OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego County Stop DWI Program has hosted mock DWI scenarios at all school districts throughout Oswego County since 2006 when the first event took place at Phoenix High School.
Oswego High School held the mock DWI presentation last week as they do every year in May for the junior class while all other districts hold the presentation every other year for junior and senior classes.
“They are presented just before the junior prom for students likely to attend prom and graduation parties,” said Robert Lighthall, Coordinator of the Oswego County STOP-DWI Program.
The powerful scenario embodies the dangers of drinking and driving and is captured with the help of many different parties, Lighthall explained.
First, students of the school are the lead in the presentation that plan and participate in the mock scenario, acting out a crash scene as an impaired driver, a fatal passenger, and injured passengers.
“The STOP-DWI Program is a resource to guide them on procedures and options to include in the presentation. We also assist by providing props and logistical support,” Lighthall said.
Additionally, local police and fire departments, deputy sheriffs, state troopers, ambulance service, local funeral service, and the county coroner’s office also respond to the scene for a realistic interpretation of the scenario.
Local auto salvage businesses donate the cars used in for presentations while local tow services transport them to and from each school.
Numerous safety and preventative services and community volunteers work behind the scenes as well as school staff that assist with preparing the scene and sound systems.
For this reason, planning for the presentation begins in February as the event requires many factors come together at once to make each presentation successful.
After months of planning and preparing, the students are typically impacted on a deep level year after year, Lighthall said.
“The presentations have a powerful message about choices and consequences. Students are encouraged to discuss it with family and friends. Responses from students indicate they hear the message,” he explained.
Ultimately, there is one sole message that Lighthall hopes is truly understood by each student.
“Have a plan: to get home safely. Don’t be an impaired driver and don’t get in the car with an impaired driver,” he stressed.