"Life's lessons are best learned through experience. Unfortunately, when the target audience is teens and the topic is drinking and texting while driving, experience is not the teacher of choice." -- Every 15 Minutes

Part One of a Two Part Series

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Every two years, for the past ten years, New Providence High School and the Municipal Alliance coordinates the "Every 15 Minutes" program to "challenge students to think about drinking, texting while driving" and its devastating effects so they will make responsible mature decisions when lives are involved.

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According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among those ages 16-19. While the percentage of teens who drink and drive has decreased significantly since 1991, 54 percent, according to the CDC, it is still a major issue. CDC statistics reveal that teenagers are 17 times more likely to be killed in a car crash, when their blood alcohol level reaches at least .08, in comparison to when they are not under the influence.

Lori May of Atlantic Health Systems, New Providence High School Student Assistance Counselor Dave Chango, Sgt. Dennis Corovillano from New Providence Police Department and Nora Murphy from the New Providence Municipal Alliance worked together to facilitate this two day program.

On day one, select students were removed from their classroom every fifteen minutes by Dave Chango and Sgt. Corovillano and were made up as walking dead. These students were not permitted to talk to other students, use their cell phones or e-mail. The idea was for the students and their friends to experience, for 24 hours, what it would be like if they were no longer here in this world. 

In the afternoon, Atlantic Health Systems; New Providence Police, Fire Department and EMS; New Providence Courts; and other community organizations pulled their resources together to respond to a pre-arranged mock crash scene on Pioneer Way in front of New Providence High School’s juniors and seniors.

In order to produce a realistic scene, ambulances, police officers, fire fighters, and a helicopter were on scene to respond in actual time and perform their life saving actions, as well as investigate the accident. Students participating in the act were placed into two already totaled cars, obtained by the city from a junk yard and directed to behave in a way that was full of emotions.

A makeup crew was on scene, to create the gory injuries that would result from head on car crash collision. After preparation were completed, a tarp was placed over both vehicles, at approximately 2 p.m., students made their way outside and the tarp was removed. Blood curling screams were let out from the actors, one performer had half his body inside the car, the upper half through the cracked windshield, laying on the hood of the car, he was pronounced dead instantly. Others had to be carried out of the car, placed on a stretcher, and taken away in an ambulance, and another was flown away in the helicopter.

Keeping up with the intensity, officers immediately identified the person at fault with the accident, handcuffed him and he was taken to the police department, where he would stand a mock trial. The other students would spend the night at the Best Western Plus Murray Hill Hotel and Suites, and give a presentation the following day. 

Check back with TAPinto New Providence for Part 2 of the two part series.

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"Every 15 Minutes" is sponsored by the New Providence Municipal Alliance with the support of the New Providence School District, The New Providence EMS, Police, Fire and Atlantic Health Systems.

The New Providence Alliance is funded by a grant from the Governor's Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. Each year the New Providence Alliance provides meaningful programs to students and parents within our community to provide information and guidance on how to prevent alcohol and drug abuse.