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Program Teaches Teens About the Dangers of Drinking or Texting While Driving

Amy Kossoff Smith, McClatchy and Tribune Newspapers

Program Teaches Teens About the Dangers of Drinking or Texting While DrivingEducation News: a new nationwide program entitled Every 15 Minutes seeks to warn teens about the dangers or driving while intoxicated and while texting.

Every 15 minutes, someone is seriously injured or killed in a traffic collision involving alcohol or distracted driving. That statistic also inspired a nationwide program, Every 15 Minutes, and is one that parents are particularly concerned about since traffic collisions are the leading cause of death among teens.

I had the opportunity to work on a campaign at a high school unlike anything I've seen before.

We staged a car crash in front of our high school; partnered with local fire/rescue, police and hospital teams, and staged a full-scale emergency response. "Victims" were made up with realistic blood and wounds; one was rushed to the hospital and pronounced dead; the "driver," after failing a sobriety test in front of her peers, was handcuffed and taken off in the police car.

Throughout the school day, there was a symbolic "death" every 15 minutes, where a student was pulled from class by a "grim reaper," and his obituary was read by a police officer.

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A video, produced by a very talented teacher and students, provides a chilling look at the dangers of drinking or texting while driving and takes you through the pre-party, the crash scene and emergency response, the rush to the hospital and the aftermath. It's very powerful, and a must see for any driver.

AT&T produced a fabulous video I wrote about a while back, that shows the dangers of texting and driving as well. In the video, you see how a simple "LOL" or "C U LTR" either impaired someone for life, or killed him. All over a text message...

Despite working on this program with a team of parents, students and emergency responders, and despite working on events through my public relations firm for 20 years, it was chilling to see it all play out. I couldn't stop thinking about the "what if's." What if this were real, as our local fire chief told the kids, because it happens all the time? What if it touched someone at our school, which it has in past years? And on a very hopeful note, what if we spread the word about the dangers of texting or drinking while driving, and teens _ and parents _ change their ways and focus on the road?

Hats off to Every 15 Minutes for putting together the template of an incredible program that can be brought to any community. When I was a teenager, we were only talking about the dangers of drinking and driving. Now, with cell phones in hand, these very young drivers have yet another thing to think about. Hopefully that they do!

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Amy Kossoff Smith, Founder of The MomTini Lounge, is a nationally recognized Mompreneur who recently relaunched her site, www.MomTiniLounge.com, which is full of tips and tools for the business of motherhood. Available 24/7, just like Mom, the site has helped women around the world to manage the job of motherhood.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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