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Life Lessons: Drunk driving simulation plays out at Notre Dame High School

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RIVERSIDE—Students from Notre Dame High offered a vivid enactment of the consequences of drinking and driving on April 26 and 27 when they teamed with Riverside police and firefighters for “Every 15 Minutes.”

 A mock collision was staged on Brockton Avenue near campus as students played the part of crash victims and one, the inebriated driver who made the tragic choice to get behind the wheel. The entire student body looked on as the dramatization played out. It included on-scene trauma triage, a DUI investigation and transportation and treatment at nearby Riverside Community Hospital.

 In the mock collision, six students are killed and one is injured, leading to the arrest of another for driving under the influence of alcohol. Following the collision, the six students began an overnight retreat while their parents received mock death notifications. Principal Matt Luttringer said the realistic nature of the exercise, including the death notifications to parents, was important to drive home the message.

 “I do understand that there were several moments of shock and horror, mostly short-lived, when it was believed that some of our students had actually passed away in this manner,” he explained in a letter to school parents. “I assure you that this reaction was a necessary outcome of the program, which is set up to show young people the horrible risks, and the very real destruction, of drunk driving.” 

 The next day the entire student body gathered at an assembly in the Notre Dame gymnasium where the six students were reunited with their parents and video footage of the collision was shown. Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz, Fire Chief Michael Moore, and Mayor William “Rusty” Bailey all made brief remarks at the assembly.

 “Every 15 Minutes,” named in the 1990’s after the statistic that someone died from an alcohol-related traffic collision every 15 minutes, is funded by the California Highway Patrol and the California Office of Traffic Safety.