RICHMOND, Va. -- A gruesome display in front of George Wythe High School.
Bloody body parts and a snarled future splayed out under sunny skies, amid fall temperatures and an otherwise perfect day. Fortunately, this wasn't a real crash.
Authorities were on scene, responding to an exercise where volunteer students reconstructed a fatal crash scene, hoping to drive home statistics that show using a phone while operating a car is often a one-way trip.
The most recent crash data from the National Safety Council shows that cell phone use is estimated to be involved in 26 percent of all motor vehicle crashes, up from the previous year.
Meanwhile, NSC survey responses from 25% of teens indicated they don't believe sending text messages or emails affects their driving. But data shows that young drivers report more crashes while using cell phones. Young adults aged 18 to 20 have the high crash incidence (23%) compared to all other age groups.
"It is real," said Kathleen Richio, with VCU Medical Center. "It is gruesome, but it's real and this is what we see and this is what we do."
"If we can reach one child today that's one child's life we can save, but we will never know, but we will save them," she added.
The scenario the students reenacted was that four people were seriously hurt after their car went off road and into a tree, because of distracted driving. The crews staged an extraction, and then took the victims into the school gym where they performed trauma care.
And the end of the event, the lesson was genuine.
Carmax Cares and Drive Smart VA sponsored the event and VCU Medical Center, Richmond Fire Department and Richmond Police were on scene to take part in the demonstration.