Youth Forward Scholarship 2019 – Think Before You Drink

Name: Olivia Vazquez
From: Claremont, CA
Grade: College Freshman
School: The Webb Schools
Votes: 0

I believe driver education is extremely important, I believe the
content and effectiveness of this education is even more crucial. We
can preach to young drivers not to drive distracted or under the
influence, but many of them may not consider it as severe of an issue
as it truly is. We can throw statistics out as much as we would like
but I feel safe driving education can be taken to another level.
Personally I am very much influenced by evidence, facts, and visual
representations. At my school we participated in a program known as
“Every 15 Minutes” in which high school juniors and seniors
explore drinking, driving, and decision making. Students recreated a
drunk driving scenario and had to experience an ordeal very similar
to the aftermath of such careless actions. Some students were taken
from class, visited the mortuary of a local hospital, and created a
video of the backstory. Other students at my school gathered a few
days later where they watched a live reenactment of a crash scene,
complete with police, an ambulance, a coroner, and a totaled car. My
sister was one of the car crash victims who died and I had to do
special effects makeup for all the students involved. Later, parents
read eulogies for their children “killed” in the collision and it
was a deeply emotional presentation overall. I cried while listening
to my sister’s eulogy because she had been gone for a couple of
days already. She was staying at a hotel with the rest of the
students to create the feeling of having them truly gone. Friends of
the students and teachers seemed to all feel the absence and severity
of the recreation. Though it takes quite a bit of effort to
orchestrate, I feel this was an extremely effective and personal way
to convince teens to practice safe driving habits. I have seen “Every
15 Minutes” presented at other high schools and many people within
these communities acknowledge how much teenagers actually respond
this type of demonstration. If more schools were to integrate this
program into their safe driving education, there may be a chance that
new drivers will start driving with safer habits and more awareness
about the outcomes of their decisions.

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