Drunk driving simulation drives an important lesson home

Dr. Sapna Parikh reports from Newark, NJ where local students view a drunk driving simulation that illustrates the dangers of drunk driving. (WABC)
April 29, 2014 7:10:11 AM PDT
Students at a Newark high school received important lessons about the consequences of driving drunk during a 2-day simulation.

Students saw a full scale simulation of a car crash. During the simulation, two teenagers are extricated from the wreckage, but one of them dies.

The elaborate two-day event is sponsored by the University Hospital together with the state police and department of health.

"This program gives kids the opportunity to experience the real life tragedy in a safe environment through simulation we call it a do-over. You don't get to do a do-over too often," said Terry Hoben, an EMS worker at the University Hospital.

It's part of a national program called "Every 15 minutes" at Science Park High School. A student is pulled from class every 15 minutes to symbolize the person that dies every 15 minutes as the result of an alcohol related collision.

And it appears that students are taking notice.

"That (car crash death) is serious -that can be prevented and by doing something like this it helps bring awareness," said high school senior, Tatianah Demande.

Later in the day, courtroom students watch the teen drunk driver as he or she is sentenced to jail. They also witness a funeral for the student who died.

Shamia Pamplin, who plays the role of the drunk driver, is surprised by the severity of the consequences for a drunk-driving crash.

"I'm just shocked that I have to be responsible for all these people the fact I could be going to jail for the rest of my life because I made one stupid decision," Pamplin said.

In real life, that bad decision by one driver caused Maria Esteves to lose her 8-year-old daughter and uncle.

"It is not worth taking a risk, think about their lives, think about others and make the right decision," Pamplin said.

For more information go to www.every15minutes.com.