On the Road to Responsibility

Drive Smart highlights the consequences of poor choices for high school students.

For more than 20 years, Miami Valley Hospital’s CareFlight Air and Mobile Services has offered Drive Smart, a nationally recognized mock car crash program that gives high school students a real-life look at the consequences of poor choices behind the wheel of a car. Drive Smart provides an honest view of what can happen while driving distracted or impaired.

Brian Bates, CareFlight outreach manager at Miami Valley Hospital, tells students, “Just because you’re in high school now doesn’t mean these decisions get any easier as you go throughout life.”

The Drive Smart program works with high schools within a 150-mile radius of Miami Valley Hospital and gives presentations to about 30 schools annually. Planning for a Drive Smart presentation is a highly coordinated effort between Premier Health, community agencies, and high school administration. Premier Health trauma teams, local police and fire departments, EMS, tow truck companies, coroners, and funeral homes collaborate to make mock crash scenes realistically vivid.

Each scene starts immediately following a motor vehicle accident with actors in costumes and make-up, first responder sirens and lights, and hydraulic extrication tools. The crash is narrated throughout, and all events occur in real time, with emergency radio traffic and phone calls heard by the students in attendance. Students witness the tragic outcomes of the accident as fellow-student actors are removed and taken to police vehicles, ambulance, helicopter, and a hearse. They also observe the significant number of individuals involved who care for patients and keep their community safe.

Having students participate as actors makes the program more realistic and leaves a lasting image.

Minster High School senior Logan Klosterman had the opportunity to see the Drive Smart program twice. “When I saw it as a freshman, I didn’t think a lot of it, but when I saw it as a junior, and I personally knew the student actors, that was very impactful,” said Logan.

Austin Kaylor, Minster High School principal, stated, “I’m sure it’s impossible to quantify the impact of this program. If you could, I would bet it would be pretty substantial.”

In 2022, there were 1,715 teenage distracted driving car crashes in Ohio, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, highlighting the need for this critical program. Drive Smart is free to area high schools, and while many schools choose to schedule their event in the pre-prom and homecoming seasons, it can be scheduled throughout the year.

To learn more or to schedule a presentation, contact Brian Bates at (937) 208-4399(937) 208-4399 or brbates@premierhealth.com