Held back by caution tape, Payson High School students recently eyed a fellow student, bloodied and bruised, lying on the ground after a car accident.
The cuts and bruises were make-up, and the pretend-hurt student would walk again later that day. However, if Project Ignition is successful, students will now more acutely understand the consequences of poor choices while driving.
Through a $2,000 grant from State Farm Insurance and the National Youth Leadership Council, Project Ignition allowed PHS’ student council to undertake an awareness campaign to address distracted teen driving, speeding and seat belt usage.
Their message, imprinted on purple promotional T-shirts, was “tnk B4 u drV” — “think before you drive” in text talk.
On a recent Wednesday, students participated in a mock accident and wore goggles to simulate impaired driving, along with classroom demonstrations.
Students also delivered their message through a promotional video, posters, assemblies and the Homecoming Parade. PHS’ version ranked in the top 25 on the Project Ignition Web site.
In the video message, four Longhorns used their recent state championship stardom to remind their fellow students to think before driving.
“Sweet Home Alabama” begins blaring from speakers as a passenger stops the driver in the student council-produced video.
“How can you concentrate on the road with loud music blasting in your ears?” a student asks.
Then, seconds later, “You can’t even walk and chew gum. How do you expect to drive and text?”
The video veers on hilarity, as demonstrated by the chuckles drawn from the crowd at a recent school board meeting as they watched it.
Car crashes are the leading cause of death for American teenagers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The event was supported by the Payson police and fire departments and the high school drama department, in addition to the student council.