As high school students gear up for prom, high schools from around the country are participating in mock drunk driving collisions aimed at preventing DUIs.
According to the Valley Sun, La Cañada High School hosted one such mock DUI collision last week.
In a two-day reenactment entitled “Every 15 Minutes,” 14 participating students were taken from their classes in 15 minute intervals by the “Grim Reaper,” while eight other students were being prepped for a mock collision.
With the participation of local firefighters, sheriffs, CHP, coroner’s staff, a Los Angeles County court judge, and attorneys, the reenactment went from the collision itself to the coroner’s office to the courthouse to a jail cell.
Day two of the reenactment involved a mock funeral assembly to honor the victims of the previous day’s DUI collision. Following the funeral, speakers shared their own experiences of loss as a result of drunk driving.
La Cañada’s own science teacher, Tom Traeger, told the students about how his own sister is currently serving a 13-year sentence for a fatal collision she caused while driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
“They lost everything as a result of what my sister did, her bad decisions in life,” he said. “If you do drink and drive, realize that the cost is heavy.”
Former Illinois volunteer firefighter, Josh Jahn, spoke about how he responded to a DUI related accident only to find out that it was his own family that had been hit by a drunk driver.
“I know not every single person in here is going to take this to heart the way they should. But if just a handful of people do, then it’s worth it,” Jahn said. “The lady who hit my family, if she’d sat in a room like this when she was younger, [maybe] my family would still be here.”
Several students were left in tears as the demonstration became very relevant as the prom season approaches.
“This really affects us all. I think it helps everybody,” said Scott Platisa, senior at La Cañada High School. “I know after this I’ll, of course, be wiser in my decision making.”