Santa Ynez High School will be hosting the Every 15 Minutes program, developed to prevent teens from drinking and driving, April 17-18.

Every 15 Minutes is one of several teen driving programs the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is involved in with the goal of reducing crashes, and fatalities in that age group.

Every 15 Minutes helps students see the impact of the tragedy from a different perspective, through the eyes of their family and friends. 

The program focuses on high school juniors and seniors, challenging them to think about drinking, driving, personal safety, and the responsibility of making mature decisions, which could impact family, friends and others.

Through realistic demonstrations, Every 15 Minutes dramatically presents the effects a fatality crash caused by an impaired driver has on a school, the families, and a community.

Volunteer students are taken from their classrooms every 15 minutes to represent the “victims” of a multiple fatal DUI collision. The student body witnesses a wrecked vehicle, brought to the campus, and watch as emergency crews demonstrate efforts to extricate the “victims” from the vehicle.  The collision scene will be held at 11 a.m. April 17.

At the end of the first day, the volunteering living-dead, are taken to an overnight retreat where they hear first-hand from people who have been involved in or are affected by an incident involving alcohol.

The students write letters to their loved ones expressing thoughts they would convey if they had not been “killed” on that particular day.

On day two, a student body assembly is held. The assembly will be at 11 a.m. April 18 in the Santa Ynez High School auditorium.

The Every 15 Minutes program is presented after months of planning and meetings involving school officials, law enforcement, firefighters, community hospitals, emergency medical responders, chaplains, counselors, judiciary, community groups, local businesses and parents.

Funding for the program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.