Mock Crash Scenes Scheduled at Local Schools


Mock Crash Scenes Scheduled at Local Schools

WESTFIELD CENTER, Ohio – Apr. 13, 2012 – If seeing is believing, then young drivers in Mason County, West Virginia will gain greater respect for the dangers of driving, through the viewing of displays of a car involved in a fatal crash. The car has been donated by Westfield Insurance to the D.A.R.E. program operated by the County Sheriff’s Department.

The donation was recommended by the car’s owner, Paul Sheets of Point Pleasant, who was struck by a drunk driver in late 2011, and Deana Spaulding, the mother of Andrea Bailes, Sheets’ 14-year-old passenger who died in the crash. Sheets and his daughter Sammy, the other passenger in the vehicle, were both seriously injured. The drunk driver also died in the crash.

The tragic circumstances of the crash motivated West Virginia House Delegate Brian Savillia (R-Putnam) to introduce Andrea’s Law, HB 4500, which if passed would enact stricter penalties on repeat DUI offenders. The driver charged with causing the accident reportedly had multiple prior DUI convictions.

The crash car will be on display in a mock crash scene at Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School on Wednesday, April 18, leading up to the school’s prom event on Friday, April 20. It will also be on display at Hannan Junior/Senior High on Wednesday, April 25, prior to its prom on Saturday, April 28, followed by display at Wahama High School, which is also celebrating prom April 28.

The prom and graduation season is a dangerous time for teen driving accidents. Although in this case the crash was caused by an experienced driver, teens are at far greater risk of death in an alcohol-related crash than the overall population. Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in America.

Research shows unsafe behaviors contribute to teen crashes. According to Jani Groza, Westfield Insurance Community Investment Leader, “Inexperience and immaturity, combined with speed, drinking and driving, not wearing seat belts, and distracted driving, are common factors in teen driver accidents.”

Westfield Insurance and its private foundation support programs that teach newly licensed drivers defensive driving skills. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the majority of crashes occur within the first few months of driving, and defensive driving skills could prevent an estimated 60% of all teen vehicle crashes.

"Although Westfield supports teen driver safety all year long, we recognize a special need to heighten awareness during the prom and graduation season,” Groza said.

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