Apr 23, 2014 8:28 PM
Students at Pleasant Valley High School watched as some of their classmates participated in a real life drunk driving crash. It was all part of the Every 15 Minutes Program, which was started right here in Chico back in 1996. Organizers say the reality of watching the scene unfold really hits home. "This has absolutely changed a lot of people's thoughts and ideas. Before coming into this they thought it might've been a joke and they didn't take it seriously but the way it was executed was extremely real," said Danielle Hart, an organizer of the event.
The scene involved 6 students including one who was flown out by Flight Care to Enloe Medical Center while another student was carried away in a body bag. Students watching the scene say the program sends a strong message. "Things like this actually happen but you're never there first hand. So it's scary knowing that, your peers, this could happen to one of them," said McKenna Kennedy, a student at Pleasant Valley High. Student Hannah Shepherd added "this is really, really scary and this is very intense and this made me realize just like that, you're life is over because you have 15 years in prison from a DUI."
The program not only focuses on underage drinking but has started to incorporate distracted driving as well. "So many distractions now. We have our cell phones and electronic devices and everybody thinks it's a joke," said Clair Grant, a student at Pleasant Valley High.
School officials hope that this program can help start up the conversation at home between parents and their kids. "It opens up the dialogue between parents and children about how much they love one another, how important life is, and how important it is to make safe choices," explained Anne Brodsky of Chico Unified Schools.
“Every 15 Minutes” along with other programs have helped over the years, reducing the number of underage drinking deaths be at least half. "It makes me feel pretty good that I think we're having an impact and doing something positive and making a difference," said Brodsky.
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