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Area law enforcement, emergency services to feature safe driving program at East Rowan

SALISBURY — Area law enforcement and emergency personnel have planned a safe driving awareness program Tuesday at East Rowan High School.

The program will include testimonials and re-enactments.

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office spearheaded planning for the program, known as Vehicle Injury Prevention for a Very Important Person (VIP for a VIP). It is designed to bring all the sounds, sights and smells of a fatal vehicle accident to life for high school students.

The program was developed by firefighters and has been presented throughout North Carolina. Local firefighters, emergency responders, State Highway Patrol troopers and police officers will participate.

The program is at 10 a.m. today at 175 St. Luke’s Church Road, with a presentation in the school’s gym. Afterward, students will head outdoors at 2 p.m. for the re-enactment.

Sheriff Kevin Auten said his agency is proud to partner with VIP for a VIP Inc., the school system, and emergency service providers.

“Hopefully, this presentation will remind the students of the dangers of everyday driving, especially when using alcohol,” Auten said.

He said the program is dedicated to the students who have lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents while attending East Rowan High.

The program was founded in 1998 after a fatal crash in Guilford County on the concept that if teens could see what medical responders see during a crash, then maybe they would make better choices. Firefighters Steve Zimmerman and Larry Cockman developed the program to show teens “the real ending to the story” in an effort to prevent accidents.

The nonprofit group uses a 36-foot trailer to haul crashed vehicles as well as lights and speakers for the program. The program has expanded to high schools and colleges across North Carolina.

— Shavonne Walker

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