Mandan crash film to teach dangers of drinking and driving

2013-05-09T15:19:00Z Mandan crash film to teach dangers of drinking and drivingBy HANNAH JOHNSON | Bismarck Tribune Bismarck Tribune

BISMARCK, N.D. - A short documentary on a fatal Mandan car crash on Halloween 2011 premiered Thursday at the Bismarck State College National Energy Center of Excellence.

Three young men were killed in the crash and two others, including the driver, were injured. The driver’s blood alcohol level was 0.266 — more than three times the legal limit of 0.08.

The 28-minute documentary, “Moments of Impact,” is meant to warn young people about the dangers and real-life consequences of drinking and driving.

The idea for the film came from Tom Regan of KAT Communications, who also produced the video. Two of the men killed had been good friends of his daughter. He saw a chance for some good to come from tragedy.

The documentary re-creates the night of the crash, following the young men as they drank to excess — first at one of their apartments, then at a bar — and then decided to drive home.

It also features interviews with the driver of the car, the other survivor, and friends and family of those killed.

Before the video was shown, several public officials gave speeches on the prevelance of drinking and driving in the state. North Dakota has one of the highest alcohol-related crash rates in the country, they said.

“We need to end that disgrace and we need to end it now,” Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley said.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said that nearly half of all crash fatalities in the state are alcohol-related. That is unacceptable, he said.

“We’re all here, really, because we need to find a way to save lives by making the right decisions,” said Grant Levi, the acting director of the North Dakota Department of Transportation.

The film will be shown at all “Alive at 25” events, an education program through the North Dakota Safety Council.

The Department of Public Instruction is planning to get the video to every school in the state, along with written curriculum suggestions.

Regan said that soon there will be a website built around the video, where anyone will be able to view it online.

All of those interviewed in the film were young. It was a conscious choice, said Regan, so that the message is being given to young people by friends and peers.

“We all need to take more responsibility for this issue,” Regan said.

As Wrigley said in his speech, educating youth not to drink and drive is a simple yet incredibly important lesson.

“There are no better statistics than statistics that never happen,” Wrigley said.

Reach Hannah Johnson at 701-250-8251 or hannah.johnson@bismarcktribune.com.

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