CHP Stages Mock Car Crash, Aftermath to Warn Skyline Kids of the Dangers
Highland Hospital recently teamed up with the California Highway Patrol to give teenagers a vivid warning on the dangers of drinking and driving.
The CHP’s “Every 15 Minutes” DUI prevention program pulls together emergency workers and health care providers, local and state law enforcement and the students themselves to stage and review a real-life scenario depicting a fatal alcohol-related wreck. The Alameda Health System Foundation secured roughly $12,000 to fund the two-day program for Oakland students. These funds included a $6,000 grant from the CHP as well as additional donations from AHS’s Public Affairs and Community Engagement (PACE) Department and other community donors.
The program’s title is based on an often-cited statistic that someone is injured or killed in an alcohol-related crash every 15 minutes. Due to programs like this, however, the national average has moved to every 30 minutes, a testament to the value of education.
Highland partnered with Skyline High School to participate in the simulated crash, joined by Oakland Fire, Oakland Police, the Alameda County Sheriff’s office and Paramedics Plus. Stefania Kaplanes, AHS’s manager of trauma prevention, organized the event.
The dramatic lesson – captured on video – began to unfold on March 29 with a staging of the fatal DUI crash for Skyline’s juniors and seniors at the school football field.
They watched as Oakland Fire Department personnel freed several students from wrecked cars using the Jaws of Life rescue tool. Meanwhile, a CHP helicopter landed to medivac one of the students from the field, and police performed sobriety tests on the driver and arrested him. From there the action shifted to Highland’s Trauma Center, where doctors were unable to save the life of a student injured in the wreck.
The video continues with the impact on the victim’s grief-stricken family and carries the story through a mock funeral and the trial and jailing of the young driver.
Following the staged crash, the 19 Skyline High School students participating in the simulation stayed overnight at a local youth center. The overnight event, spearheaded by AHS’s Stefania Kaplanes and Nikki Boudreaux, included a presentation from Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the CHP. While away, students were without access to phones or social media, furthering feelings of loss and distance for all involved.
The next day, school assemblies presented the powerful and emotionally wrenching video of the wreck, rescue efforts and aftermath, allowing the students to experience the consequences from a different perspective.
“Seeing this almost-real DUI crash involving people they know was a special experience for the kids,” said Stefania. “It was so much more meaningful than a textbook or classroom.”
In fact, involvement in the mock crash and previous participation in the HEAL internship program at Highland has inspired one student to pursue a degree in nursing from UCLA next fall.
The project was also a benefit for AHS, in that the American College of Surgeons mandates that Highland’s Trauma Center conduct prevention efforts for its top three trauma situations. Automobile wrecks are among the three.
“As medical providers who see the real-life consequences of drunk or distracted driving firsthand, Highland Hospital and AHS are proud to support this effort in the hope that it will save young lives.”