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Teen Drinking: Simulated Drunk Driving Collision for Students Coming to La Mirada High School

By Brian Hews

The La Mirada Public Safety Team will conduct a simulated drunk driving traffic collision for students at La Mirada High School on June 3 and 4.
The two-day program will show students the devastating impacts of drinking and driving on their friends, families and community.

According to experts such as an OVI Lawyer, on average, it is estimated that more than 3,000 teenagers die every year as a result of injuries obtained during vehicular accidents attributed to driving under the influence. Most say this occurs because teens pressure each other into drinking and driving.

Responsible parents would not allow their children to drink at home, so teens resort to drinking in neighborhood hangouts and parties. Inexperienced with alcohol, they consume more than they should and intoxicate themselves before driving home.

Alcohol is the most abused drug among teenagers. Nearly 70% of teenagers at one point or another have consumed an alcoholic beverage, whether it is a beer, glass of wine, or hard liquor.

It is also one of the easiest to obtain. Nearly every supermarket in the country carries one kind of alcoholic beverage. While it is illegal to sell alcoholic beverages to minors, there are irresponsible people who do just so.

The most dangerous drivers are apparently 18 year olds, who have the highest crash rate in the nation. Teenagers feel like they are indestructable. Mix that with alcohol and they make up ingredients for disaster. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number one cause of death among 15-20 year olds is car accidents. Twenty-eight percent of teens killed in car accidents had been consuming alcohol while driving an automobile. It does not take super intelligence to know that teen drinking and driving accidents are very serious and often result in fatalities.

The program, which is conducted at high schools throughout the country, is designed to bring awareness to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration statistic that someone dies in an alcohol related auto accident every 15 minutes in the United States.

“The goal of the Every 15 Minutes program is to make certain that students have an understanding of the serious consequences involved with drinking and driving,” says Safety Education Officer Mary Cipres.  “If this program prevents even one student from drinking and driving, the effort is well worth it.”

Held every other year in La Mirada around the time of high school prom and graduation, “Every 15 Minutes” provides students with a realistic look at the destruction of a drunk driving auto accident involving their classmates.  A number of La Mirada High School students will be selected as volunteer actors to participate in the scenario.
The first day of the program features a visit to the accident scene with an impaired teenage driver and a fatally injured victim.  A special effects coordinator is employed to provide realism to the crash scene and Sheriff, Fire, ambulance, and coroner personnel respond to the scene.

Students also visit a local mortuary and attend a mock memorial service for the classmates involved in the crash.  Sheriff’s Deputies make visits to the homes of students to arrest the drunk driver and notify the parents of the deceased teen.
“Every 15 Minutes” is funded by a grant from the California Highway Patrol and California Office of Traffic Safety.

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