Every 15 minutes simulation shocks students on the reality of drinking and driving
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On Thurs., Sept. 15, Palo Verde students were exposed to the death of three teens and the incarceration of one as the Metropolitan Police performed a drunk driving simulation.
“Every 15 minutes is a two day DUI program put on by the Metropolitan Police based on a statistic in the 80s in which every 15 minutes there would be a drunk driving incident in the United States. Now our statics are down to every 51 minutes, which is better, but we hope by doing programs like this we will have no DUI accidents,” said Kelly Raybuck, an officer who led the scene.
Palo students were shown the aftermath of the accident itself, as they walked down from the school to Pavilion Center to see two cars mutilated from a crash and their fellow classmates sitting inside the vehicles. A 911 call was projected through a speaker, following with police officers and firefighters responding to the accident which was caused by an intoxicated teen. Police then demonstrated to students how they would perform a field sobriety test while firefighters ripped the cars open to rescue the injured teens inside. The demonstration went as far to show how an airlift would have taken place.
“The fire department and police did the reenactment of a drunk driving incident and I felt really emotional seeing it acted out, especially since one of my childhood friends was the person who died because of the simulation so it really made me feel the need to be careful when I’m driving, even though I don’t drink, to make sure I don’t text or anything so everyone can say safe,” said junior Connor Christensen.
The scene was clearly really hard to take in for students, leaving some in tears over the reality that is drunk driving.
“Definitely seeing it first hand like that, it just hit hard, it really hit home. It will really make you second guess drinking and driving because it is just not worth it; it ruins everything, and I don’t know why people would do it,” said senior Logan McGhie.
The simulation continued the following school day, Fri., Sept. 16, when family members of the “deceased” talked about and gave an obituary for their lost in front of Palo students who experienced the accident the day before.
“Even though you don’t think it can happen to you it diffidently can. I mean I know what kids are like, I have two kids, and you go out one night and it can change everything. One night you go out and drink or even if you go down the road and your texting, you have to keep in mind you are driving a big 5,000 pound vehicle that can kill people, you need to be responsible, and that’s what we are trying to teach them: just how much your life can change in a second,” said firefighter Scott Province.
The every 15 minutes program started with a coffin being carried into the gym, followed by a slideshow and video of the “aftermath” of the previous simulation which included hospital and morgue visits. They also had trauma doctors discuss what students were seeing on screen, along with real life victims of drunk driving discussing how it has affected their the lives of people around them.
“Before I was always the person that knew drunk driving was bad and I was always like ‘oh this is something that is never going to happen to me’ but after being chosen for this program it really opened my eyes to show me that this can happen to me and its really important to me now that people realize that and take the right precautions to not let this happen,” said senior Reese Lamph.