Distracted Driving Program Aimed to Scare Teens Straight

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano is launching a new program aimed at allowing teenagers to experience the aftermath of a vehicle accident caused by distracted driving.

The Reality Education Driving program is a one-day hospital-based injury prevention program.

The program takes teenagers step-by-step through the grave consequences of distracted driving, similar to a scared-straight type program.

Parents can sign up their children for the two-and-a-half-hour experience and tour through the trauma center.

After her live report, NBC 5 reporter Bianca Castro held a Facebook Live chat with Mickie Watson, trauma program manager at Texas Health Presbyterian Plano. That video can be seen above.

The hospital tour follows a trauma patient journey, going from the helipad with CareFlite to the emergency department, the laboratory and the chapel. Time is also spent with the physical medicine department and ends with a trip to the morgue.

"They don't necessarily understand the implications of one decision to text, one decision to reach down and turn the radio up, one decision to look the other way for a long time. Even eating while driving is a distraction, and they don't necessarily comprehend the full impact that that can affect," said Mickie Watson, trauma program manager at Texas Health Presbyterian Plano.

Carson Bolding, 17, volunteered for the program to allow NBC 5 to film the experience.

"It feels like it could happen to anyone once you've gone through it and see what happens," Bolding said. "I'm going to be much more careful and much more aware of what I'm doing because I would not want to be in the situation in real life, like actually have this happen."

The RED program serves as an educational sentencing alternative for juveniles, ages 14-20, identified through the court system.

These teenagers have exhibited risky traffic behavior, endangering themselves or others – such as speeding, non-use of seat belts, minors in possession/consumption of alcohol or driving while intoxicated – and referred to the program by the judge hearing their case.

More: RED Program Calendar | RED Program Info

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