LAFAYETTE, La. – Women’s & Children’s Hospital teamed up with Louisiana State Police Troop I to make a Sudden Impact.

Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens in Louisiana, according to the Louisiana State Police. More than 700 teens in the state died in motor vehicle crashes in the past four years. Another 59,000 were injured. Crashes, the State Police stress, are most likely to happen within the first six months of a teen obtaining a driver’s license.

“Last year alone, 62 people lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes in the Troop I coverage area. Sixty-four percent of those crashes involved an impaired driver,” said Trooper Stephen Hammons, Troop I spokesperson. “In the past five years, more than 60 people under the age of 21 lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes that occurred on Acadiana roadways.”

LSU Level I Trauma Center in New Orleans and the Louisiana State Police designed Sudden Impact to change these alarming statistics.

“Women’s & Children’s Hospital is proud to be the first in the region to work in conjunction with Louisiana State Police Troop I and LSU Level I Trauma Center to bring this amazing program to Acadiana families,” said Kathy Bobbs, CEO for Women’s & Children’s Hospital.

“It only takes seven hours – less than a full day of work – to change a teen’s perspective on driving while intoxicated, seatbelt use and driving distractions,” Bobbs said, “seven hours for a teen to come to terms with the consequences wrong choices can inflict, just seven hours for the Louisiana State Police and Women’s & Children’s Hospital to make a Sudden Impact.”

Women’s & Children’s Hospital and Troop I are set to launch the program in March with students from Ascension Episcopal School in Youngsville. An initial group of 25 high school students will attend Sudden Impact classes at Women’s & Children’s Hospital on March 19, with a second group of 25 students from the school attending on March 21.

Participants will hear from victims. They will hear from the law enforcement professionals who work the accident scenes and investigate the crashes. They will hear from the healthcare professionals who care for patients and families following crashes.

Students will complete a pre-test, post-test and a six-month follow-up test to evaluate the program’s effectiveness. Questionnaires are anonymous and voluntary.

“We are excited to be the first school to participate in the Sudden Impact program here in Acadiana,” said Camille Renard, Ascension Episcopal School Dean of Student Life. “More importantly, we value this wonderful opportunity to provide a program to our students that may one day save their lives.”

Sudden Impact is designed to be a school-based intervention program. Schools interested in participating, and parents interested in having their child’s school participate in the Sudden Impact program, should contact Katie Broussard at 521-9312 or Katie.Broussard@hcahealthcare.com.

Contact Trevis R. Badeaux, Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator, at 521-9172 or Trevis.Badeaux@hcahealthcare.com for more information.

About Women’s & Children’s Hospital

Founded in 1983, Women’s & Children’s Hospital, a campus of The Regional Medical Center of Acadiana, continues its tradition of providing specialized healthcare services for women and children. Women’s & Children’s Hospital is the second largest obstetrics hospital in the state with an array of women’s services including digital mammography, breast-dedicated MRI, fertility, lactation support and urogynocology. The facility includes the Kids ER – a Pediatric Emergency Department staffed 24/7 by Board-Certified Pediatricians, Acadiana’s only Level III Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the region’s only Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, a women and children-dedicated Sleep Center and various pediatric subspecialties.