Boy have things changed.
As the mock crash began, the students were staged, the gory scars and wounds glistened with the corn syrup and food coloring as blood; memories began to flood back.
When I cover this event, I try to get the best shots possible to get the biggest impact to our readers. So, most of the time I am really not focusing what is going on, but what I am doing and staying out of the rescue crews way and most importantly not to step on any equipment.
This year, I took a moment to step back and observe the situation – to see how it was impacting the kids.
You would think it was a comedy act with the chuckles and smiles coming from the sidelines. Better yet, some thought it was a rock concert, as some students held up their cameras recording the event – I assume to be shared on YouTube later.
This year, I couldn’t help but be a little envious of those who participated in the mock crash.
Why? Because THEY are lucky.
This crash was ‘fake’ – but at the end of the program, they all get to go home to their families and friends.
The Every 15 Minutes program focuses on the dangers of Drinking and Driving – and the program seems to be working, the numbers have been reducing since the program began almost twenty years ago.
The issue we are facing today is distracted driving. We all know it’s not safe or legal to text and drive, but many still do it.
To dismay many beliefs, distracted driving extends beyond talking on the phone, texting, and eating.
Just the other day, I was explaining to a friend that April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and her reply was, “no worries, I have my Bluetooth!”
I was a little shocked – my first reaction was ‘Really?” but I let my mind settle and my emotions not get the best of me, and replied, “It’s not where your hands are, it’s where your head is.”
If you are not 100% focused on the road, your surroundings, and your vehicle is in motion – you’re driving distracted.
Why am I so passionate about this issue?
My brother was killed by a distracted driver. The driver was in too much of a hurry and failed to see my brother coming the opposite way – pulling into his path – killing them both.
That man made a decision to ‘be in a hurry’, with his mind distracted –disregarded all risks and changed the lives of two families forever.
So as the kids in the stands chuckled I wanted to scream at them and tell them that my brother and the other driver didn’t get to peel off the plastic scars, and wash away the fake blood.
Their lives were over. This is very real.
It’s been 18 months, and I miss my brother every single day – there isn’t a moment that he isn’t on my mind.
One moment that really stuck out in my mind was when one of the ‘Walking Dead’ students had to give directions to one of the officers on how to get to his parents’ home. His smug attitude and smile on his face just struck a chord within my soul.
Here this parent was ‘knowingly’ going to have a police officer show up to their home and have their child’s ‘death’ announced to them.
Was this a game to him? Here his parents were going to face the most horrific moment in their lives – it all may be fake – but at that moment when two officers appear at your door – your world stops.
The one thing that stuck with me when I went through the Every 15 Minutes is that an accident is something that cannot be reasonably foreseen or predicted and cannot be avoided. It just happens. A crash, on the other hand, is the result of choices made and risks disregarded.
These are the same risks that we make when we fiddle with the radio, text message, talk on the phone (and yes even on Bluetooth), or even when our minds are preoccupied on being late, or worried about something happening at the end destination.
You hear of people that are afraid to fly, afraid of heights or afraid of elevators, but the riskiest thing you do each and every day is to get behind the wheel of a vehicle.
We don’t even give it a second chance thought of the actions we do.
However, if you’re running late, then you should have left sooner. The speed limits are not there to inconvenience you, they are there for your safety. Don’t worry about that phone, it can wait – you don’t want to have your last message on earth to be “LOL”.
At the end of the Every 15 Minutes program, the participants went home – I, on the other hand, would give anything to have my brother come home just one more day – but for him it’s too late.
Drive Safe Colusa County,
Lloyd Green Jr.