Samohi Teens Experience Fatal Crash Aftermath To Stop Distracted Driving

Friday, 5 Apr 2013, 9:17:00 AM

Brenton Garen

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

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

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