Preventing Crashes

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Submitted by Sydney Llanes Herrenschmidt
on 11/16/2018

Distracted driving has become one of the biggest causes of car crashes and the statistics continue to increase. There
are numerous ways to prevent this from occurring, for example, a simulation. This past week, I experienced the event, Every Fifteen Minutes, at my school.

It is the most impactful event I have ever
experienced. Instead of distracting driving, it represented intoxicated driving. It was a two-day event, with the first day being the crash and numerous people being pulled out of class because they “died.” The people who were pulled out of class represented that every fifteen minutes someone dies from an intoxicated driving incident. They then walk around school silently, symbolizing ghost.

In addition, the people who died had no contact because their phones are taken away and they stay at a hotel overnight. The second day was the worst situation I have ever been through. It was the funeral of all the people who had been killed in a drunk driving incident. During the funeral, many parents read their messages for their kids and what they would say if they could see them again.

I have never seen so many people cry before. Also, kids who died read what they would have said to everyone if they knew their time would be cut so short and it was devastating to hear. In the end, there was a guest speaker who experienced his nephew being killed due to a drunk driver.

I believe simulation is the best method to represent distracted driving because not only was I impacted, but my whole community was. Even though it was all fake, it felt so real. I had to witness a numerous amount of people I knew and cared about die. If this was used with distracted driving, I know everyone would get the message. Nobody wants to see the people they know and love die from something that could be prevented.

It is such a different feeling hearing about how it affects people versus making it a reality. Sometimes I think people don’t realize how much damage distracted driving can cause unless they actually experience it. From my experience, that is the case with me. I knew intoxicated driving occurred way too often, but I never really knew how those families and people felt when it happened to someone they loved or knew. After watching and being in the simulation, it became very clear to me the emotions they feel and I hope I never have to feel that again. Many teenagers think they are indestructible and are able to text and drive and use social media while driving, thinking nothing will go wrong until something actually does.

A simulation would be a good wake up call for everyone to realize the damage it causes. After communicating with the “drunk driver” in the simulation, he explained how it was so surreal and he carried so much guilt with him the whole simulation. Because of this event, he also stated that he is now more aware of what happens and he will make sure that nobody will drive intoxicated in his presence. A simulation would create a huge impact and spread the word that distracted driving is not a joke.

Even though the simulation feels so real and people are able to see their loved ones again, in reality, a great number of people don’t experience the return of the ones they’ve lost in distracted driving. Everyone needs to prevent people from becoming another statistic.

Submitted by Sydney Llanes Herrenschmidt
on 11/16/2018

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