Every 15 Minutes has impactful message

Staff Editorial

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Every 15 minutes somebody dies due to a drunk or distracted driver.

The Every 15 Minutes program brought awareness to this shocking statistic this month.

The Californian believes the message Every 15 Minutes brought to Cal during the two-day program opened the eyes of unaware teenagers.

In a culture where cell phones, partying, and drinking are prevalent, Every 15 Minutes targets high school students.

Everything throughout this program was simulated, and nobody actually passed away.

After an announcement of peers that had “died” because of a drunk or distracted driving incident, a simulated car crash took place on the football field.

Many felt that the car crash went too far because some students have been in car accidents before. But students were able to see for themselves the direct consequences through the simulated car crash.

Though it may have been insensitive to those that have experience it firsthand, the reality is that many students have never been in a car crash.

There was a constant buzzing walking out to the field where the simulation took place, with people talking and laughing.

But once the tarps were removed from the cars, everybody fell silent. The severity and seriousness of the simulation left many in tears, and others in stunned silence.

Unfortunately, some students were forced to sit on the field opposite the simulation and were unable to experience it the way those in the bleachers did.

After the simulation ended with a few teenagers taken away in an ambulance, two in a police car, and one in a body bag, students were sent back to their classes.

The atmosphere was a mixture of gloom and confusion. 

Students didn’t know how they could go back to their day after that experience and pretend nothing was wrong.

Although the program left its impact, there were certain apects of it that could have been done differently. For example,  the volunteers in the program were heavily from leadership, which limited the number of students directly affected by the missing students.

Every school that hosts  Every 15 Minutes executes it differently. Three years ago, Cal omitted the car crash simulation and focused on the memorial services.

This year, the simulated memorial services came the day after the crash to show the effects of losing so many peers in the span of 24 hours.

Even though the students announced as deceased will be able to continue living, the program opened the eyes of many teenagers to stop driving distracted and under the influence.

But other students aren’t so lucky and do lose their lives due to drunk or distracted driving.

Cal invited in a woman from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.) who lost her son in a drunk driving incident to speak about her experience.

Her powerful speech and photographs of her son brought everything the students had witnessed into reality.

The sad reality is that this can happen to anyone.