EVERY 15 MINUTES PROGRAM: Educating Students About the Dangers of Drinking and Driving
Every fifteen minutes, someone in the United States is killed or injured in an alcohol-related incident. Alcohol related traffic collisions are a major social, health, and economic problem. In 2006, California reported 1,597 persons killed and 31,099 injured in alcohol-related automobile collisions. Reality is, teenage drivers are responsible for a highly disproportionate number of these collisions, deaths, and injuries.
Eleanor Roosevelt High School, along with the local agencies and businesses of Eastvale and the surrounding community, hosted the nationally recognized Every 15 Minutes Program on March 24th and 25th, 2011. It was a two-day event that challenged students to make the right, responsible decision when they get behind the wheel of an automobile when alcohol is involved.
Day One involved removing a student from class every fifteen minutes. The students became one of the "living dead" where they were no longer in communication with friends and family for the remainder of the two-day event. Two uniformed CHP Officers escorted the Grim Reaper to the classrooms and read the students' obituaries. Following the announcements, all juniors and seniors were escorted to the front of the school on Cleveland Avenue where local agencies came together to simulate and stage a two-car collision. These community agencies included Eastvale Police Department, Riverside County Sheriff, Riverside Cal Fire, American Medical Response, Mercy Air, and Rubidoux Mortuary.
Day Two involved a mock funeral where all juniors and seniors viewed a video of the previous day's events. Guest speakers included parents from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.) and Riverside County Sheriff. Two living dead students were selected to read their letters that were written the night before at their overnight retreat. Parents of the living dead were also invited to read their letters to their child. The assembly concluded with a call to action challenging everyone in the audience to make responsible choices when alcohol is involved. Students were given a wristband bracelet to remind them to make the right choice when they get behind the wheel.
"This powerful program is designed to create an awareness among students that they are not invincible. They experience first hand how their actions affect the lives of so many other people" (California Highway Patrol @ www.chp.ca.gov).
This program was funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) and the California Highway Patrol (CHP). Information on the Every 15 Minutes Program can be found on its National Headquarter website at www.every15minutes.com. The program at Eleanor Roosevelt High School followed all program procedures and protocols provided by OTS and CHP.