Officials hope wrecked car sends message

The badly damaged vehicle that sits in front of Quakertown Community High School is a warning sign to students and motorists during prom season.
Posted on 05/01/2023
SADD students, teachers and SRO Bob Lee stand around a wrecked vehicle in front of QCHS that officials hope will act as a warning to students to take a moment to reflect on the impact of vehicle crashes as inexperienced drivers head to parties, graduation, and the beach.By Gary Weckselblatt

With prom season in full swing, a reminder to students entering Quakertown Community High School and to motorists along Park Ave. sits in front of QCHS. The badly damaged car that has been involved in a serious accident is a warning to take a moment to reflect on the impact of vehicle crashes as inexperienced drivers head to parties, graduation, and the beach.

“It shows the reality of distracted driving,” said Ashlee Wagner, president of the school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) club. “It’s a warning about making unsafe decisions during prom season, especially with friends in the car. It can get real very quickly.”

On behalf of the SADD, School Resource Officer Bob Lee arranged for the wrecked car to be delivered free of charge. The vehicle includes several signs that provide a valuable component for safe driving: “Wear your seatbelt,” “Don’t text and drive,” “Drive sober,” and “Watch your speed.”

“This is a good time for parents to have a conversation with their young driver about the rules of the road and the importance of a driver staying focused on the road,” Officer Lee said. “And if you’re a passenger, have the courage to speak up if you feel uncomfortable with any unsafe driving.”

He said distracted driving is not only about the misuse of alcohol, although that’s a problem. There’s also texting, making a phone call, adjusting a car radio or being distracted by someone else in the vehicle.

Sadd’s advisors Adriane Carickhoff and Krista Rupar walked around the vehicle with their students after it was delivered on Monday. “We hope it’s a reminder to students and to the community to slow down and be safe,” Ms. Carickhoff said. “It’s prom season, and it can be an exciting time. Let’s make good choices.”

According to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, drivers ages 16 to 19, per mile driven, have crash rates approximately four times greater than those of drivers ages 20 and older. A leading contributor is driver inexperience.

Even more scary, traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teens and young adults. More than 5,500 young people die every year in car crashes and thousands more are injured.

“Please be smart. Please be careful,” QCHS Principal Mattias van 't Hoenderdaal said. “We care about you and your safety. Please be responsible and show concern not only for your own safety but for the safety of others.”

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or [email protected].
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