As this issue of the Big Bear Grizzly is going to press, Big Bear High School is taking part in a program called Every 15 Minutes. It’s designed to send a message to high school students about the consequences that come with driving impaired or distracted.

Every 15 Minutes originated in Canada and came to the U.S. in 1995 in Chico, California. The program spans two days targeting high school juniors and seniors but the entire student body is affected. Students, staff and first responders are involved.

Day one involves a fake traffic collision that can be very graphic and realistic. The crash shows a lot of fake blood and usually involves one or more fake fatalities. The actors, who are high school  juniors and seniors, are given sobriety tests, questioned by authorities and those “fatalities” are loaded into body bags and taken away. The seriously injured are loaded into ambulances and rushed to the hospital.

All this takes place outside the high school while the rest of the student body watches. Every 15 Minutes is a powerful program with an even more powerful message. Don’t drink and drive, don’t text and drive. Don’t drive distracted or impaired. The results can be deadly.

As teenagers, we believe we are invincible. When we are teens we believe we will live forever. We have our entire lives ahead of us: college, career, marriage, families.

Until one of us doesn’t.

Doesn’t make it to college, doesn’t embark on a career, get married or have a family. Doesn’t make it to tomorrow.

Every 15 Minutes is a well-designed program that shows what ifs. What if we drank at the grad night party and drove home? What if we got drunk because we had a fight with our boyfriend or girlfriend or mom or dad? What if we just texted our best friend while driving? What if we got high before the dance, skipped it and drove down the hill?

Every what if could lead to disaster. We know how powerful the message behind Every 15 Minutes is, because as adults we’ve known the one who didn’t make it. As teens, you most likely haven’t lost a best friend, a family member or even a classmate to any of the scenarios, so the message hasn’t sunk in yet. We hope you never have to experience the death of someone close to you due to poor decisions. We hope the message of Every 15 Minutes is enough to have you think twice before you get behind the wheel impaired or drive distracted.

We are positive your parents would rather give you a ride home after a poor decision than mourn your death. Don’t be a statistic.

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