This week, Toledo High School held Traffic Safety Week — five days of events to educate students on the dangers of impaired driving.

“Usually we’re presenting to either a driver’s ed class, a leadership class [or] driver’s ed classes at different schools,” said student Hunter Grove, co-chair of the Two Hands on the Wheel club at Toledo High School. “This week is to be able to [educate] people just of all age groups, from freshmen to seniors, to even the staff members.”

Grove was “arrested” on Thursday afternoon as part of a mock DUI arrest conducted by Trooper Jacob Payne with the Washington State Patrol. Payne participated at Grove’s request.

“I’ve done a few of these mock crashes in the past,” Payne said. “I had the experience along with our secretary with the state patrol, Michelle Pardue. So we decided to come to Toledo High School this week and do a safety week emphasizing DUIs, seatbelts and speeding.”

Students from the Two Hands on the Wheel club give presentations to other high schools in the area as well.

“Two Hands on the Wheel is a club for distracted driving to hopefully teach driver’s ed students and even younger kids, or even adults in the community, about distracted driving,” said Jessica Randall, the other co-chair of the club. “[It’s also to] give them accurate statistics on how scary distracted driving actually is and hopefully save some lives along with it.”

The club members noted that one in four accidents involves a driver who was using their phone.

“With all the new technology, people are always on their phones,” said Adrian Murphy, club secretary. “We want to teach them that [they’re] not supposed to do that. It’s so dangerous.”

The final day of safety week is an all-day event with a mock crash.

“The mock crash is a simulated crash that involves injuries, one critical, a couple serious injury victims, the causing driver’s DUI,” Payne said. “So we’ll have officers arrest that driver for DUI and then we will have the fire department and hopefully Life Flight on board, too.” 

Life Flight Network is a medical helicopter company that can airlift critically injured patients to level 1 trauma centers, such as Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, and other hospitals equipped to take on patients with life-threatening injuries.

“So we’ll have Life Flight land, take the critical person as if that person was transported via Life Flight, as well as the critically injured, transported by air personnel to the local hospitals,” Payne said. 

The event on Friday included guest speakers whose family members have been seriously injured by drunk drivers, or lost their lives, Payne said.

“It’s a good event and it really is an eye opener for these students,” he said. “We look forward to this event, just to be as much of an impact as possible.”

The day of the mock crash also includes a funeral and a eulogy. 

“The idea for the mock crash is to show how many people are involved with a crash,” Grove said. “When someone makes a choice to text and drive and wrecks, it’s more than just themselves and the people they crash into that they affect. People don’t realize response time from fire department, the sheriff’s department, the coroner’s office, etc.”

Randall added, “I hope we have impacted a few people at least.”

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