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Drunk driving has been a problem for decades, leading to injuries and deaths on the road.
In the 1990s, a program called Every 15 Minutes was developed on the premise that a person was fatally injured in an alcohol-related collision approximately every 15 minutes. A powerful educational tool coordinated by the CHP and affiliated agencies, the program helps students to understand the dangers associated with drunk driving. Programs like this reduce injuries and fatalities through the power of information.
Over the course of two days, high school juniors and seniors are challenged in a very realistic way to face the consequences of drunk driving.
One student is removed from the classroom every 15 minutes and remains off-campus, considered to be “dead”, for the duration of the day.
The following events are videotaped throughout the first day:
It’s common for schools to select students with exceptional promise, such as the star athlete who is rendered paralyzed after the accident, or the valedictorian with a full ride scholarship who is arrested or deceased. This creates the powerful image of the consequences that can ensue, and all that can be lost within seconds from one night of drinking.
A video including all the events of day one is prepared for the students to watch.
St. Francis High School is among many schools in Sacramento that have participated in the Every 15 Minutes teen driving safety program. You can watch the video below; keep in mind these were real students and parents who participated and the emotional impact is intense.
This program leverages the opportunity to remind everyone involved that drunk driving is not an accident. Rather, it is the policy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to use the term “crash” rather than accident when referring to alcohol-related vehicle crashes because the term “accident” implies that these crashes and injuries are unavoidable. In fact, they are predictable and preventable.
Studies on education programs that have tracked students before and after Every 15 Minutes have shown that the program may have a favorable short-term effect on students’ stated attitudes. The statistics are difficult to scientifically quantify, but students note the emotional impact of having participated in the program.
Regardless of the data, a person who witnesses an alcohol related crash that is simulated to imitate the real thing–where peers and friends are killed or gravely injure–is likely to think twice before making a bad decision. Programs such as Every 15 Minutes can reduce alcohol-related injuries and fatalities in a powerful way. If you are interested in learning more, contact the CHP.
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