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Mock crash depicts consequences of drunk and distracted driving

(KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino)

PHOENIX — First responders swarmed a mock crash scene in front of the Arizona State Capitol on Wednesday to show the dangers of unsafe driving.

The grisly scene depicted a motorcycle pinned between two cars and two bodies lying on the ground. Several student actors wore gruesome makeup to portray injuries. One of the drivers had been drinking and another had been texting before the crash.

Several dozen students stood by to watch the mock crash.

“We really hope that they take away the seriousness of this,” said Phoenix Fire Capt. Nicole Minnick.

Minnick said the student actors helped create a realistic scene to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and of driving under the influence.

“When people see the impact of an accident this bad, maybe it would make them think twice about picking up their phone when they’re driving or about getting behind the wheel after having a couple drinks,” she said.

The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety sponsored the mock crash. It was part of the Arizona Distracted Driving Summit outside the state capitol.

As part of the summit, several chairs with photos of people killed in Arizona by distracted drivers were also laid out in front of the capitol. The photos included one of Salt River Police Officer Clayton Townsend, who was killed by a suspected distracted driver last year.

Several months after Townsend’s death, Arizona lawmakers passed legislation to ban the use of cell phones while driving. Gov. Doug Ducey signed it into law in April.

The new law goes into effect in January 2021. Until then, law enforcement officers are giving warnings instead of writing tickets.

Townsend’s mom, Toni Townsend, talked to the students at the mock crash about the new state law banning cell phone use. She also encouraged them to be safe drivers.

“Let’s just put our phones down,” she said. “Let’s look out for each other.”

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