Officials hope wrecked car makes statement

The vehicle was placed in the front yard of Quakertown Community High School along heavily traveled Park Ave. in the hope it sends a clear message about the dangers of distracted driving.
Posted on 05/06/2022
School Resource Officer Bob Lee and SADD members stand around a wrecked car they hope sends a message to motorists about the dangers of distracted driving.By Gary Weckselblatt

A badly damaged car sits in the front yard of Quakertown Community High School as a reminder to motorists: Take a moment to reflect on the impact of vehicle crashes as inexperienced drivers head to prom, graduation, parties and the beach.

School officials hope drivers up and down Park Ave. will get the message.

“Please be smart. Please be careful,” QCHS Principal Mattias van 't Hoenderdaal said. “We care about you and your safety. Please be responsible and show concern not only for your own safety but for the safety of others.”

On behalf of the school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) club, School Resource Officer Bob Lee arranged for the wrecked car to be delivered free of charge. “Wear your seatbelt,” “Don’t text and drive,” Drive sober,” and “Watch your speed.” Each sign’s message provides a valuable component for safe driving.

On Thursday, SADD members and their advisors, Adriane Carickhoff and Krista Rupar, wrote messages on the car.

“Having the car here isn’t only about us and our safety,” said freshman Ashlee Wagner, SADD president. “It’s for our peers, school staff, and the community. We want to help everyone make good decisions.”

Officer Lee said “This is a good time for parents to have a conversation with their young driver about the rules of the road and the importance of a driver staying focused on the road. And if you’re a passenger, have the courage to speak up if you feel uncomfortable with any unsafe driving.”

He said distracted driving is not only about the misuse of alcohol, although that’s a problem. There’s also texting, making a phone call, adjusting a car radio or being distracted by someone else in the vehicle.

According to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, drivers ages 16 to 19, per mile driven, have crash rates approximately four times greater than those of drivers ages 20 and older. A leading contributor is driver inexperience.

Even more scary, traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teens and young adults. More than 5,500 young people die every year in car crashes and thousands more are injured.

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or [email protected]
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