Everyone remembers driver’s education class in high school, the class that we were all taught to prevent auto accidents by following the rules of the road.  But even our law firm’s San Diego auto accident attorneys have never heard of a school staging a car accident until we saw San Diego 6’s report about the mock car accident staged by San Pasqual High School in Escondido.

Both students and parents alike were profoundly affected by the mock accident film after a day in which this San Diego county high school dedicated to preventing car accidents caused by drunk driving.  It was all a part of an event called Every 15 Minutes.

According to Every 15 Minutes’ website, staging a mock accident offers real-life experience without the real-life risks that dramatically instills teenage drivers with the potentially dangerous consequences of drinking and driving.  Every 15 Minutes is not just a mock accident video.  This DUI prevention program paints the entire picture of a fatal car accident for students and parents.  Every 15 Minutes provides an experience that is as close to the real thing as it gets, hitting the point home for everyone involved.  Fifteen minutes is significant due to the fact that, on average, someone dies in an alcohol-related car crash every 15 minutes.

It all begins on day one when the Grim Reaper calls students out of class.  Once these students are pulled from their classrooms, a police officer enters the classroom to read obituaries that their parents actually wrote for them.  At the very same time, police notify their parents — who are aware of the Every 15 Minutes program — of their death.  A few minutes later, these “dead” students return to class with white face make-up, coroner’s tag and a black Every 15 Minutes T-shirt.  The “living dead” students don’t speak or interact with any other students for the rest of the school day.

After lunch, a simulated car accident takes place on school grounds.  The students experience the scene of a serious car accident first-hand, complete with emergency responders, the jaws of life and sometimes helicopters — which was the case at San Pasqual in Escondido.  Police even stage an arrest of the suspected drunk driver, complete with handcuffs and Miranda rights being read.

At the end of the day, the students who participated in the staged car crash spend a night in a local hotel for a student retreat.  The retreat’s purpose is to simulate the loss of the student for friends and family.  Each student writes a letter to their parents.  The letter begins:

Dear Mom and Dad, every fifteen minutes someone in the United States dies from an alcohol related traffic collision, and today I died.  I never had the chance to tell you…

Every 15 Minutes also includes a “Challenge Day” in which students wear impaired simulator goggles to experience firsthand the effects of alcohol on driving — without actually drinking.  The next day, there’s a mock funeral service held at the school for those students with a parent that actually lost a child to a drunk driving accident.  The goal is to stress that one’s decision to drink and drive can affect many people’s lives.

Overall, it was a chilling experience for some.

“Right now, I’m shaking because this seems so real to me,” said one senior.

Drunk driving accidents kill someone every 15 minutes, and that’s one drunk-driving statistic that we believe must be improved.  With more programs like Every 15 Minutes, our Escondido firm’s accident lawyers think that we can all make adjustments in our attitudes and actions towards preventing the needless injuries and wrongful deaths caused by drunk drivers in car accidents.

If you were injured in a car crash caused by a drunk driver then call our bilingual law offices right away at 1-858-551-2090 or click here for a FREE consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney in San Diego and find out how we can help you.  We look forward to providing good advice for your case.  There is no cost for your initial consultation, and there are no fees until we recover a fair auto accident settlement.


Has your school ever performed a staged car accident?  If not, have you heard of any other ways schools educate students on the dangers of drunk driving?