'Every 15 Minutes' crashes in

Rocklin High students get first-hand look at cost of driving drunk
By: Anne Stokes, Placer Herald correspondent
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Rocklin High School students were exposed to the dangers and potentially fatal price of driving drunk during a dramatic presentation, “Every 15 Minutes,” held Tuesday and Wednesday on the campus. “Kids are experimenting,” said Rocklin High School Principal David Bills. “They think they’re indestructible, and they need to know that a car is a huge weapon that they sit in. If they get in it and are impaired in any way, their chances of hurting themselves and other people are greatly increased.” “Every 15 Minutes” refers to statistic of drunk driving related fatalities at the time the program was started in 1995. The campus presentation is designed to illustrate the consequences of distracted and drunk driving in a visual and emotional way to students through a re-created auto accident on campus. This week’s program involved students portraying accident victims and drunk drivers, the Rocklin Police Department and emergency response units, including the Rocklin Fire Department, American Medical Response, a CALSTAR helicopter unit, and the Placer County Sherriff’s Department. In addition, a student was pulled from class every 15 minutes on Tuesday, later returning as a member of the “living dead” – refraining from interacting with other students for the remainder of the day. On Wednesday, the program opened with an assembly that included “funerals” for the students “killed.” “I’m participating because I think it’s a really important cause. I think it’s really important to get the message out to the students,” said junior Shannon Garvella, who portrayed the drunk driver in Tuesday’ crash. “It seemed like a good experience and I wanted to make sure that everyone could see this as a real-life situation.” State Farm Insurance donated $5,000 to help fund the program at Rocklin High School. Rocklin City Council member Scott Yuill, a State Farm insurance rep, was on hand for the re-enactment. “Especially now, in prom season when you have a lot of kids driving and sometimes not paying attention, certainly if there’s alcohol involved, you need to do something to curb these senseless deaths,” he said. “I’m very proud of State Farm’s commitment to teen safety and teen driving education. It’s important for kids to see this kind of a program. Hopefully it sinks in and hopefully saves some lives.”