BLUE HILL – Most high school students have been through training meant to thwart drunk and distracted driving. Demonstrations like the “Every 15 Minutes” campaign seen in Blue Hill Thursday drive home the point.
Warning: As intended, some images are extremely realistic.
It’s a lot for someone to take in on a Thursday at school, but the demonstration by local authorities at George Stevens Academy is done to drive home the point of what can happen if you drive drunk or, more commonly in high school, distracted.
“It’s obviously necessary in every community, every school across the country, if not the world,” said Deputy Luke Gross of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office. “Statistically we can show that kids are involved in horrific crashes and crashes that could be avoided by kids making better choices.”
During the day, students are taken from class every 15 minutes; the rate at which distracted drivers are killed in the US. Then, the entire school watches as friends, covered in realistic makeup, are pried from a vehicle or arrested for causing the deadly crash. After the demonstration, the students involved are taken out of town for the night, cut off from friends and family. They write letters to their families, explaining what happened and how they wished it could be different. Finally, the school meets the next day for a sobering funeral in the gym.
“At first it was like, it’s all fake, it’s okay,” student Asha Kirkland said as she shook. “But then we got out there and saw them and I just don’t want it to happen.”
Bess MacArthur, the lone student “killed” in the mock accident, contemplated the affect it could have on her peers.
“This can show that even your closest friend, or someone you know well, can be impacted by something like this.”