Sudden Impact Program teaches value of safe driving to ESA students

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Posted at 6:27 AM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 08:10:59-04

Accidents are the leading cause of teen death across the US and many of those happen because of carelessness behind the wheel of a car.

Sudden Impact is the program put on by Louisiana Highway Safety Commission and University Medical Center in New Orleans that promotes safe driving to teens across the state by staging a mock crash then a mock trial so students can experience what life would be like if a driving mishap ended in the worst-case scenario.

This week the program came to ESA with State Police Troop I and Ochsner Lafayette General.

"You wake up every day you read in the paper, you hear in the news, that somebody's been involved in a crash and didn't survive and you always know it can happen to you," says Tracy Lemaire, Sudden Impact State Coordinator.

State Police Trooper Thomas Gossen is familiar with what happens when a distracted or impaired driver finds their way into another vehicle's path.

"They're not accidents. They're actually preventable crashes where somebody made a choice. We see it all too often where its a choice somebody made to get behind the wheel impaired," says Gossen with Troop I.

Juniors and Seniors at ESA watched their classmates act through each step of this grueling experience from the crash to a jail sentence.

"I was the intoxicated driver and in my car my friend died. So we went through that scene and the trial and it was really tough. All the emotions felt really real," says Ava Grace Hebert, a student who participated in the event.

"In drivers ed they teach you how to be safe and how to avoid wrecks, but they didn't go deep and didn't feel this real. This really hit home like this could happen to me," adds Hebert.

This program travels to dozens of high schools throughout Louisiana.