CHP To Hold Every 15 Minutes At West Ranch High School -- February 18, 2015

Most fatal vehicle collisions involve a teen and California Highway Patrol officers are partnering with other Santa Clarita Valley emergency officials for the West Ranch High School Every 15 Minutes.

The West Ranch High School Every 15 Minutes is planned to be held Thursday, Feb. 19.

“Every 15 Minutes” is a two-day program which demonstrates to junior and senior high school students the impact impaired driving has on friends, family and their community, according to the news release.

From the start of the school day the simulation will begin. Every 15 minutes, a student will “die” in a fatal vehicle collision and will be pulled out of class by the Grim Reaper.

For the rest of the day, that student will be able to attend their classes but will be unable to communicate to their friends, teachers and family.

A simulated impaired driver traffic collision will occur at the top of the cul-de-sac in front of the high school at 10:40 a.m., according to a CHP news release. While the collision scenario will take place for about an hour, the cul-de-sac will be closed from 9:30 a.m. through 11:45 a.m.

After the crash, the “walking dead,” crash victims and impaired driver continue to learn about how distracted driving can affect their family, friends and community. 

The impaired driver goes to court and jail, any survivors of the crash are taken to Henry Mayo Memorial Hospital where they “die,” the walking dead and crash victims go to the youth grove and cemetery. All of the participants are cut off from communicating with their family and friends.

The next day, various speakers will give speeches about teens who have been killed in vehicle collisions including Tom and Alice Reynolds, who lost their sons Tim and Danny as well as Wayne Rhoades, who lost his son Andrew Rhoades, Lutz said. The students involved in the simulation and Santa Clarita City Councilman Bob Keller will also speak.

“I believe that Every 15 Minutes is particularly important in this valley because of the extraordinary amount of driving age students in the valley,” said CHP Officer John Lutz.

More than 67 percent of all fatal collisions involve a teen, whether or not they are the driver, he said. Teens only make up four percent of the driving population.

“This program has adapted over the years from bringing attention to the impaired driver, to being a program that encompasses not only drunk driving but distracted driving as well as simply poor driving,” Lutz said.

Along with the California Highway Patrol, the City of Santa Clarita, the William S. Hart Union High School District and West Ranch High School, the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, American Medical Response, Eternal Valley Mortuary, the Hyatt Regency Valencia, and many other community partners and affiliates participate in the simulation.

The Every 15 Minutes program is funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, according to the news release.