Different take on #MannequinChallenge in Orem aims to save lives

Posted at 9:22 PM, Dec 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-08 23:22:16-05

OREM, Utah -- It's a mannequin challenge that's driving home a simple but powerful message. The video was posted Wednesday night and it is taking a more serious tone on a trend that's sweeping social media.

The video shows a staged, typical texting tragedy but put on pause, with teens bloodied and bruised. Some victims appear to have been thrown through the windshields and are dangling out of the smashed vehicles.

“That quick second looking at your phone could be the end of everything,” said Jensen, a teen who appeared in the video.

“It was a little bit of a shock. I actually choked up a little bit just because I wouldn’t like this to become reality,” said Kara Wood, whose son is in the video.

Her son, CJ, is the one behind the wheel with a cell phone in hand. The goal of the all-too realistic video is to send the message that text messages can wait.

“Rolling up on the scene and seeing all of these police cars, ambulances, it's heart-wrenching and it happens,” said Lt. Craig Martinez of the Orem Police Department.

Orem police and firefighters set up this scene just like the ones they see.

“It was pretty real, laying on the hood and everything, actually seeing the fake blood dripping, it felt pretty real, it was pretty scary,” said Riley, a teen who participated.

The idea is to show how serious and even deadly distracted driving can be.

“It was crazy to see how realistic it was,” Jensen said.

“Young kids especially, they don't think about consequences and that it's not going to happen to them: But it does,” Lt. Martinez said.

Police want parents to take charge and talk to teens about not texting and driving so they don't open their door one day to find a police officer with bad news on their doorstep.

“Sit their kids down and talk to them, this can happen in a blink of an eye,” Wood said.

For the teens who took part in the video,they say this will make them put their phones down.

“It would be really sad to see that; it's just a text, it can wait,” Jensen said.

“On the way home I was like, not going to pull out my phone, not going to do that, it really opened my mind,” Riley said.

In Utah, texting and driving is the number one cause for fatal crashes involving teens. Orem police say schools in Utah County will now be showing this video to raise awareness.

The full video from Orem police and fire is embedded below: