Students Learn about the Dangers of Drunk Driving

May 19, 2017

By Alexandra Mendoza

One of National City’s main thoroughfares was closed for several hours this past Monday for an exercise aimed at reminding local students that a person dies every 15 minutes in the U.S. due to drunk driving.

Sweetwater High School students once again got to experience a mock drunk driving traffic collision that showed the different stages, from the incident itself to the legal ramifications for the person causing the accident, including emergency vehicle response time. Fire, Police, and ambulance services participated in the mock response, giving participants a visual image of what could happen at anytime and anywhere in San Diego.

The goal of the Every 15 Minutes Program, organized in conjunction by the National City Police Department and Sweetwater High School, is to show in full scale how a bad decision can end in a tragedy that will change the lives of everyone aboard a vehicle being driven by someone who has consumed alcoholic beverages.

“The idea is to show how so many lives are lost throughout the state and the country due to alcohol-abuse-related incidents,” stated National City Police Sergeant Chris Sullivan. “It is a needless occurrence, and it impacts the lives of many people; not only family, but also friends, teachers, and the community.”

As part of the exercise, students were tasked with writing letters to their parents stating the following: “Dear mom and dad, every 15 minutes, someone in the United States dies due to an alcohol-related accident and today, I died. I never got the chance to tell you that…”

The message intends to involve parents in the conversation and get everyone thinking about how a poor decision can end in the death of the driver or his/her passengers.

National City Mayor Ron Morrison attended the mock traffic incident and indicated that these types of exercises are critical so that youth can see more than just statistics.

“They need to realize that this could happen right here, that it’s not just something that happens elsewhere or merely statistics. With this [exercise], instead of worrying about statistics, they will be able to put a name and a face to it, and that makes the impact personal,” he said. “That’s what you need to do sometimes with young people. As we saw, many came out to see this. It’s something special; we only do this some years, but when we do, it has a huge impact on our youth.”

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