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Teen driving deaths on the rise

Published On: Feb 26 2013 07:47:17 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 26 2013 07:55:54 PM CST

Bianca Rae has the story.

PALM DESERT, Calif. -

Broken glass, crashed cars - not the scene of a real car crash, but very real, adding to the statistics.

Palm Desert High school, Cal Fire, and local law enforcement teamed up to put on the 'Every 15 Minutes' reenactment - an all too real portrayal of one devastating statistic.

"Somewhere in the U.S., every 15 minutes someone is killed by a drunk driver," Rick Griggs of the Riverside County Fire Department said.

"It's intense because I hear about it but I don't see it. When you get told about it, it's different of course, but actually seeing it, it's different," Palm Desert High School senior, Anna Tames, said.

A new national study shows deaths of 16- and 17-year-old drivers in car crashes in the first half of 2012 rose 19 percent,  reversing a decade-long trend.

"It's gone back up for the cell use more than the DUI's, cell phone use and texting is on the rise, and more than every 15 minutes someone is killed because of texting or cell use," Palm Desert High School resource officer, Officer Kevin Cole, said.

With distracted driving an alarmingly high cause of teen crashes, 'Every 15 Minutes' focuses on all kinds of distractions.

"They don't realize that the most dangerous thing we do every day is drive and they tend to become complacent and they feel they can use a cell phone, can text at the same time, it's something that seems so accepted," Cole said.

Public safety agencies put on this program for thousands of high schools all over the country, in hopes of getting this message across to teen drivers.

"We hope that, just because they hear a statistic, this puts a face to that statistic. These were their friends that were simulated as dead or injured in this traffic accident.," Griggs said.

"Some of us unfortunately have lost students over the course of the time, and a program like this helps us teach kids the importance of protecting one another and take care of one another," Davis said.
 
So, students don't become statistics.