A Learning Experience

By Joelyn Hansen

Last week Idaho Falls high school students learned about the affects of teen drunk driving.

Teens were randomly pulled from their classroom and were treated like they were dead. They were isolated and were allowed no contact with the outside world.

The week culminated with a mock DUI crash. Students watched as firefighters rapidly extricated victims from the wreckage as they tore apart cars. As a former journalist that covered multiple drunk driving accidents, the scenerio was as real as any real-life crash.

As I stood watching this mock DUI crash, I looked across at the many students standing on the sidewalk and wondered, "will this moment impact their decisions?" I certainly hope it does.

Back when I was in high school, a student was killed in a drunk driving accident after he was violently ejected from the car he was driving. He and another teen both left a party drunk and decided to borrow a friend's car for a joy ride. Speed, road conditions and his impaired abilities dangerously mixed causing the fatal crash.

In the days following this young man's death, fellow students made a make-shift memorial at the crash location, among the articles left in rememberance was a stack of beer cans. His friends said, "that's how he would have wanted to die." 

I imagine that that young man would have said differently and given a second chance would rather have made a different decision on that fateful night. I imagine that he would rather be living and experiencing life then buried 6-feet under.

I also imagine that the friend, who leant him the car, would have rethought giving him the keys to the car. The guilt he must carry now in his adulthood.

I hope teens every where understand the lasting affects of drunk driving, or even drinking under age. I hope teens let their desire to live affect their decisions to engage in risky behavior.