adBlockCheck

Driver's Ed Class Finally Gets To See Legendary Safety Film

Top Headlines

Recent News

Ted Cruz Dressed For Campaign Rally By Swarm Of Loyal Vermin

INDIANAPOLIS—In what has reportedly become a daily routine on the campaign trail, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz stood alone in the center of his hotel suite Tuesday morning where he was carefully dressed and groomed by a swarm of loyal vermin.

Facebook’s Plans For The Future

From instant articles to live video, Facebook continues to look for new ways to expand its reach and offerings. Here are some plans on the horizon for the social media giant

The Pros And Cons Of Taking A Gap Year

Malia Obama will wait a year between graduating high school and attending Harvard in 2017, in what is becoming a rising trend among American students. Here are the pros and cons of taking a gap year:

God Loses Pouch Filled With Crystals That Give Him Powers

THE HEAVENS—Grumbling to Himself as He frantically retraced His steps across the Heavens, God Almighty, He Who Commanded Light to Shine out of Darkness, admitted to reporters Monday that He had somehow managed to lose the pouch containing the enchanted crystals that give Him His powers.

Man Practices Haircut Request Before Heading To Barber

MINNEAPOLIS—Having scripted a set of lines he hoped to deliver with confidence and decisiveness, local 34-year-old Jason Clyne carefully rehearsed his haircut request several times Friday before heading to his local barbershop, sources confirmed.

Weddings vs. Eloping

Many couples who don’t want to put the time and money toward a wedding simply run off and get married in secret. Here is a side-by-side comparison of planning a wedding and eloping

EPA Urges Flint Residents To Stop Dumping Tap Water Down Drain

FLINT, MI—Citing the significant health and safety risks that it poses to public infrastructure and the local ecosystem, the Environmental Protection Agency released a statement Thursday urging residents of Flint to discontinue dumping tap water down their drains.
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage

Surprises

  • Email From Mom Sent At 5:32 A.M.

    DENVER—After waking up and finding the message waiting on his computer, local man Drew Swanson confirmed to reporters Thursday that his mother had sent him an email at 5:32 a.m.

Driver's Ed Class Finally Gets To See Legendary Safety Film

NEW BEDFORD, MA– After months of eager anticipation, the second-period driver's-education class at Lincoln Memorial High School finally got to see the legendary highway safety film Wheels Of Tragedy Monday.

A still from the 1972 safety film.

"Both my older brothers saw [Wheels Of Tragedy] when they took the class, so I knew I was probably gonna get to see it," sophomore Kevin Younkers said. "Mr. Fait held out for two months, though. He made us finish the entire workbook before showing it."

Purchased by the school in 1973, Wheels combines grisly footage of actual car wrecks with dramatic reenactments of safety missteps committed by the victims in their final minutes. Driver's-ed teacher Vernon Fait has shown the 22-minute, 16-millimeter film to every class since he began teaching the course in 1982.

Student reaction was positive.

"It was awesome," said Craig Martsch, 16. "There was one part where this woman turned around to yell at her kids in the back seat and–wham–she slammed right into an oncoming truck. It's not on the level of Texas Chainsaw Massacre or anything, but for something you see in school, it was pretty damn gory."

Martsch's viewing experience was enhanced by the horrified reaction of his peers.

"All these people, especially the girls, were screaming and covering their eyes," Martsch said. "My girlfriend Kirsten was totally white when they showed the brains oozing out of the driver's skull. I thought she was gonna spew all over. In the lunch room later that day, Jeff [Kahn] squeezed his hamburger and was like, 'Hey, Kirsten, does this remind you of anything?'"

Most Lincoln Memorial students have some awareness of Wheels Of Tragedy long before they see it.

"When I was a freshman, I had algebra with a bunch of sophomores," said Paige Wesley, 15. "One day, they all walked in totally freaking out over this movie they'd seen. I was like, 'What? What?' They were like, 'Sorry, you're just going to have to wait until next year.'"

Wheels Of Tragedy is just one of many short films produced in the '60s and '70s by the Highway Safety Foundation. Others include Signal 30, Drive And Survive, Highways Of Agony, Mechanized Death, and The Last Prom.

"Showing a film like this reminds kids that driving is serious business," said Fait, 64. "Some of the images may be a bit unpleasant, but it's the only way to hammer home the point that a car is not a toy."

To discourage hysteria in the days leading up to the film's showing, Fait has had a longstanding policy of not revealing the exact date it will be shown. The current crop of students learned they would be seeing Wheels Of Tragedy when they walked into class Monday and saw the projector at the back of the room.

Though the sight of the projector sparked wild cheering and high-fives among the students, some members of the class approached Fait to express concern over the film's rumored graphic content. When it came time to start the film, however, no one opted out.

"Mr. Fait said if we wanted we could go and sit in the nurse's office," Wesley said. "Nobody wanted to puss out, though."

Fait, who also serves as one of Lincoln Memorial's industrial-arts teachers, has become the official keeper of Wheels Of Tragedy. The film is housed in the closet of the shop's "learning center," a group of tables separated from the band saws and other woodworking equipment by a moveable divider wall.

For nearly a decade, school librarian Iris Beyer has lobbied to have Wheels removed from the driver's-ed curriculum, calling it "a bizarre, violent relic devoid of any educational value." In 1995, Beyer personally threw away most of the school's 16mm educational films, including the gross-out classic Woodshop Safety, the drug-scare film Narcotics: Pit Of Despair, and the menstruation primer On Your Way.

"None of the other teachers particularly approve of Mr. Fait showing that car-crash film, but no one ever says anything," Beyer said. "Mr. Fait is going to retire in a few years, and when he does, we'll just retire the film with him."

Sign up For The Onion's Newsletter

Give your spam filter something to do.

X Close