As a "passenger" lay lifeless and blood pooled on the concrete, the silence of more than 6000 high school students signalled the ninth annual bstreetmart event had lost none of its impact.
About 20,000 students from NSW high schools attended the three-day road safety education forum at Sydney Olympic Park last week.
They heard crash survivors with spinal and brain damage and an organ-donor recipient speak, and viewed a simulated car crash with a step-by-step dissection of the role of police, ambulance, fire and rescue services in a fatal crash situation.
The floor showed a motorcyclist with a fractured leg, a bloodied figure in the crumpled car and another that had flown through a windscreen — after the driver had become distracted by a text message — and hit a pole.
"The first thing I want to say about this scenario is that it happens in real life and it is unfortunately neither far-fetched or uncommon," narrator and CareFlight doctor Ken Harrison said.
"If you are not wearing a seatbelt you effectively become a 60, or 70, or 80, or 90 kilogram missile. The only good possible outcome in this instance is to become a tissue donor."
Event founder and trauma co-ordinator at Westmead Hospital Stephanie Wilson said young drivers and passengers presented at the trauma unit too often, with figures showing a 17-year-old P1 driver was four times more likely to be a crash victim.
"Even though they see it on television the scenario is quite confronting and almost real life," she said.
"We want them to not only be accountable for their lives but those of their friends and other drivers on the road.
"The effects [of a road crash] can stay with them forever."
Students from Australian Christian College, Marsden Park, won the inaugural bfilmed competition with their short video about driver fatigue.
What the students said:
Anthony Goodmann, 16, St Marys High School:
‘‘It was very confronting and really eye-opening. You know that these things happen but you don’t realise the extent of it, and it affects different parts of a family in different ways. Every learner driver should be able to go to one of these.’’
Aleu Dau, 17, Norwest Christian College, Riverstone:
‘‘It was really impactful. You feel as though it’s real.’’
Jonathan Blunden, 16, Castle Hill High School:
‘‘It was very thought-provoking. You learn about the dangers in PE but it’s shocking to see. I definitely won’t drink and drive [but] I didn’t really think that much about fatigue. The video said that 17 hours awake has the same effect as a 0.05 blood alcohol reading.’’
Jennifer Foster, 16, Merrylands High School:
‘‘It was realistic. It was good to see what happens when there is a car accident. They incorporated fake blood and drove in the ambulance and police cars. That really helped to make it seem real.’’
Elisha Tulay, 15, Merrylands High School:
‘‘The realness of it and the amount of police officers and ambulances on site changed my mentality of the seriousness of an accident. The actors did it so much justice. I was shocked.’’
Road safety - the numbers:
702 of Westmead Hospital’s 3,918 trauma admissions last year were aged under 26.
15% of licence holders are aged 17 to 25.
36% of road fatalities in NSW involve drivers in that age group.