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Event drives home dangers of drunk, distracted driving

Posted: February 21, 2013 6:15 p.m.
Updated: February 21, 2013 6:15 p.m.

A portion of Newhall Avenue was transformed into a staged accident scene Thursday as students from Hart High School came face-to-face with the potential consequences of driving while intoxicated or distracted.

The “Every 15 Minutes” event — named for the time period that passes between each alcohol-related death resulting from a collision — was a day-long exercise in theater aimed at deeply influencing the teens’ behavior.

Starting at 8 a.m., individual students were pulled out of class. A message announced over the school’s intercom a student had “died” — all part of the production.

Announcements such as these were made every 15 minutes, according to Deputy Deanna Santino with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

The designated “walking dead,” as Santino called them, had their faces painted and walked around campus without talking the rest of the day.

Perhaps the climax of the production was a staged car crash on Newhall Avenue at which one students played casualties and one was “arrested” as the alleged drunken driver.

Officials from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, Los Angeles County Fire Department, city of Santa Clarita and Hart High School partnered to stage the traffic collision.

The event continues Friday with an assembly at Hart High School featurting guest speakers who have had family members die in crashes in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Funding for the program comes from the city of Santa Clarita, the California Highway Patrol and the California Office of Traffic Safety.




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