FARMINGTON, Maine — In an effort to educate young drivers on the dangers of drunk and distracted driving, the University of Maine at Farmington departments of student life and public safety and NorthStar EMS, the regional ambulance service for greater Franklin County, will collaborate to bring a mock OUI accident scene to the UMF campus at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 26.
The simulated crash scene will be staged between UMF’s Mantor Library and the UMF Computer Center on South Street, which will be closed to traffic that day from 3 to 6 p.m.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, and one out of three of these is alcohol-related. “Staged accidents like this are valuable because they raise awareness of the consequences of drunk and distracted driving and hopefully save lives,” said Ted Blais, UMF director of public safety.
The Franklin County dispatch center will be notified of the simulation before the event and will announce over its radio network that it is only a drill as the scenario unfolds. Spectators can expect to see several student volunteers taking on different roles in the scenario, including as an intoxicated driver and injured or deceased passengers.
UMF, Farmington police, emergency medical services, the Farmington Fire Department and the Adams-McFarlane Funeral Home will proceed as if the staged accident was an actual accident.
The Maine State Police will be demonstrate the arrest process and accident reconstruction. Representatives from Franklin County Emergency Management and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department will be available to speak with spectators. In addition, representatives from the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety will demonstrate the “Seat Belt Convincer,” an educational tool that teaches the importance of wearing a seat belt.
The event will take place outdoors, rain or shine. It is free and open to the public; however, the scenario is of a graphic nature and may not be suitable for some children.