SADD has been busy helping teens prepare for prom this year. How? By showing them, in gruesome detail, what could happen to them in a drunk driving accident.

The anti-drunk driving group, originally called Students Against Driving Drunk, SADD has been sponsoring events nationwide in the weeks leading up to the big dance. The group has an extensive prom and graduation season campaign on its website, including the “Prom Promise,” which urges teen couples to promise each other, in writing, not to drink on prom night.

A local chapter of SADD in Williamston recently held a “Prom Promise”-themed event: a simulated DUI crash with all the bells and whistles. SADD and student council members at Palmetto High School worked with members of the City of Williamston police and fire departments, first responders and even a medical helicopter company to bring the event together. Officials say it’s the students who push for the event and keep it going.

Using real, smashed-up cars, the organizers set up a simulated crash scene on the school’s track. One student playing the drunk driver was given a breath test, arrested, and loaded into the back of a police car as the school watched on.

Meanwhile, several other students, covered in stage blood, played people injured in the wreck. Dramatically, firefighters cut the injured out of the car using the Jaws of Life. They were then loaded onto stretchers for transportation to hospitals. In one case, a medical helicopter was called in. It landed on the football field and one of the students pretending to be injured was put inside.

Williamston Fire Chief: ‘We’ve responded to motor vehicle accidents such as this on prom night’

The event in Williamston was intentionally timed for the day before prom so the message would be fresh in kids’ minds. Prom and graduation are considered high-risk events for underage drinking and, unfortunately, driving.

The “Prom Promise” crash simulation clearly took a great deal of effort to build. While the result was impressive, it used to be performed only every four years at Palmetto. That all changed in 2011, when a 17-year-old student was killed in a drunk driving accident. Now they hold the simulation every year.

High school proms and graduations will probably take place every weekend between now and mid-June. Make the promise not to drink and drive – and keep it.