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A crash scene reenactment was held last month at Samohi.
Courtesy photo
A crash scene reenactment was held last month at Samohi.

News, Samohi, Santa Monica

Samohi Teens Experience Fatal Crash Aftermath To Stop Distracted Driving

Posted Apr. 5, 2013, 9:17 am

Brenton Garen / Editor-in-Chief

With car crashes being the number one killer of American teens, one local nonprofit is hoping to offer a game changing solution.

Last month, students at Santa Monica High School took part in the “In One Instant School Safe Driving Program.”

Students went through “In One Instant,” an emotionally charged experience designed to stop distracted and impaired driving.

The students saw, heard, and felt the emotional tragic consequences of bad choices that teens often make while driving – such as texting, cell phone use, alcohol and drug abuse.

They witnessed a reenactment of a collision aftermath scene and a funeral dramatization. They heard “Today I Died” letters to loved ones, and encountered actual survivors of Los Angeles distracted driving tragedies.

They also viewed “Last Texts” from real crash victims’ cell phones and the award-winning “In One Instant” short film.

Vanessa Perez, Samohi Senior Class Vice President, said the experience really hit home.

“I feel that after going through the In One Instant workshops I was able to take a step back and really look at the harm driving under the influence, while texting, or even while friends distract me,” Perez said. “It really hit home when I, myself, and my mother wrote a goodbye letter to one another. I didn’t believe I would have such a hard reaction while reading it aloud to my peers but I just broke down and cried.”

She said her behavior has definitely changed.

“I’m so much more cautious while driving and while I’m in the car with others,” she said.

Gail Schenbaum Lawton, co-founder of In One Instant, said she was thrilled to see the impact that In One Instant was already starting to have on the Samohi students.

“They’ve been emailing and texting me with their thoughts and feelings,” Lawton said. “One student anonymously texted me: ‘It made me realize that I want to have fun but it’s not worth dying over.’“

The program culminated on an optimistic, uplifting note, giving teens Call-to-Action challenges. They gained the tools to make smart choices – taking ownership, engaging their peers, and becoming part of the solution.

For more information about In One Instant, visit

Post a comment


Apr. 8, 2013, 5:50:47 pm

Marlowe Dickerson said...

Touching and powerful program

Apr. 8, 2013, 5:58:23 pm

Camille said...

This program was first done at my high school, Pali High and I will never forget the impact it had on me and so many of my peers. Having experienced a good friend losing his life in an alcohol related crash, I appreciate In One Instant and it's intention from a very special place in my heart. The program does an scarily impressive good job of forcing participants to realize the reality of the situation, which is that diving a car is a very dangerous risk and if you cannot do so responsibly it could easily end your life or some one else's. Facing the potential ramifications of driving under the influence in such a realistic setting allows students to reconsider their actions and gives individuals a chance to reevaluate their priorities and values. I hope that all high school students have the opportunity to experience what In One Instant has to offer for their sake and for the sake of everyone else on the road.

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