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Garfield High students get personal look at impact of drunk driving

James A. Garfield High School in Los Angeles, Calif.
James A. Garfield High School in Los Angeles, Calif.

This week students at Garfield High School will get a very personal look at the effects of drunk driving.

Every 15 minutes, someone in the United States dies from a drunk-driving related traffic accident. Students will feel that impact first-hand today when one is pronounced "dead" over the Public Address system at Garfield High.

At 10 a.m. there will be a mock accident on the football field, with a full code 3 response in front of the school and community. Student participants will then visit an emergency room, jail, courthouse and cemetery. Afterward, they will not go home. Instead, their parents will receive "death notifications," while the children are at the Montebello Hilton; there they will reflect on their experiences.

Students will share their experiences at an assembly Thursday. There the students will tell their parents their "final words," or what they would tell them if they knew they were going to die.

"Dear Mom and Dad, every 15 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..."

The "Every 15 Minutes" program to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving is done in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the Los Angeles County Fire Department, and the California Highway Patrol.

Tami Abdollah can be reached via email and on Twitter (@latams).