LSP Troop A and OLOL Medical Center partner for safety with “Sudden Impact” Program

Staff reports

Louisiana State Police Troop A and Our Lady of the Lake (OLOL) Regional Medical Center have partnered for the common cause of making our roadways safer.  With particular attention directed to the youth throughout the Greater Baton Rouge Area, officials are working together to decrease serious injuries and deaths caused by automobile crashes through educational outreach.

Tomorrow, Troop A and trauma educators at OLOL will present “Sudden Impact”, a program that educates high school students about the risks of distracted and impaired driving and the importance of seat belt use.  All media outlets are invited and encouraged to attend the presentation scheduled for Thursday, February 2 at OLOL, 5000 Hennessy Blvd. Please arrive before 8:30 am to the main hospital entrance and you will be escorted into the Auditorium before the program begins.  State Police, OLOL Staff, and Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency (LOPA) personnel will be available for comment.

“Sudden Impact” was designed to prevent fatalities and injuries from driving impaired, distracted, and/or unrestrained.  The program employs a multi-disciplinary approach to educate and offer alternatives to risk-taking behaviors that often result in death or injury.  The program provides testimony to the ramifications of driving while impaired from a medical, law enforcement, and victim perspective.  The 7-hour program, designed for high school sophomores, is located within OLOL.  This places the teens in an unfamiliar environment while providing education on laws, decisions, communication and impairment.  Troopers and trauma prevention specialists and nurses talk to teens about the importance of seat belt use, the dangers of texting and driving, and the dangers of impaired driving.

Troopers began working with trauma prevention specialists and nurses from OLOL last year to bring safety messages to students at high schools throughout the Troop A area.  Troop A began attending and taking part in OLOL presentations and the cooperative effort has proven effective.  

"Education is just as important as enforcement when considering public safety.  The Sudden Impact Program has been very successful in reaching high school students in the New Orleans area for the last 13 years," said Colonel Mike Edmonson, State Police Superintendent.  "We have been working to expand the program to other Troop areas and are excited to partner with OLOL in bringing such an important message to the young adults of the Greater Baton Rouge area."

“We are honored to partner with the Louisiana State Police to bring such an important program to the youth in the Greater Baton Rouge Area,” said Katie Sheets, OLOL Injury Prevention Coordinator.  “The Sudden Impact program is an evidence-based program that increases awareness to prevent the number of fatalities and injuries related to motor vehicle crashes.”

“Sudden Impact” has been presented for over thirteen years in the New Orleans Area by Louisiana State Police Troop B and the Interim LSU Public Hospital Level 1 Trauma Center.  This program has been hugely successful and has received numerous awards and positive feedback.  Troop A and OLOL are excited to bring this proven program to Baton Rouge.  The real life on-the-job experience of the trauma nurses and Troopers give them the background to speak intelligently on the topic and they are able to relate to the students.

The majority of fatal crashes investigated last year across the state by State Police involved impaired drivers and unrestrained occupants.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes accounted for 43% of unintentional deaths in Louisiana alone.  In addition, over the last six years, Louisiana was ranked above the national average for alcohol-related fatalities.  According to OLOLRMC, 64% of patients, ages 15-19 years old, in 2010 were admitted to the hospital from injuries sustained in motor vehicle collisions not wearing a seat belt.  These numbers are alarmingly high, and it is the goal of State Police and OLOL alike to reduce them through this aggressive educational program.

State Police and OLOL will continue to work together in an effort to reduce the numbers of serious injury and fatal crashes on our highways.  Making good decisions in a vehicle often means the difference between life and death.  Troopers, nurses, and doctors see the devastating effects poor decisions have every day.  These poor decisions not only affect the individual making the decision, but everyone involved, including family and friends.