Earlier this year, Mike's Auto Body, with 13 locations in northern California, participated in the Every 15 Minutes Program on the campus of Monte Vista High School in Danville, CA. By working with one of their insurance partners to acquire a totaled car for this event, Mike's Auto Body played an integral role for this demonstration that is held every two years at different Bay Area high schools and throughout the rest of the country as well.
The Every 15 Minutes Program offers real-life experience without the real-life risks. This emotionally charged program is an event designed to show teenagers the potentially dangerous consequences of drinking alcohol or texting while driving. The program challenges students to think about drinking and texting behind the wheel by stressing the personal safety and responsibility associated with making mature decisions when lives are involved.
In conjunction with Mike's Auto Body, CSAA Insurance Group donated a total loss car to represent the vehicle that was involved in a tragic drunk driving related accident in which two Monte Vista students were killed. The memorial car was on display at the front of the school for students to walk by and view as a reminder to what can happen when you drink and drive.
Marketing Coordinator, Sal Contreras, was Mike's Auto Body's representative at the Every 15 Minutes program and saw the event's impact on students and teachers alike.
"When the program began, you could hear loud noises from the 2,500 students while they were walking and running to the football field to settle into the bleachers," Contreras said. "But once we removed the giant tarp revealing the accident scene of the two wrecked cars and the frantic 911 phone call was blasted over the sound system, there was dead silence from the students. Their expressions of disbelief and sadness that something like this could happen to their friends was shocking and highly emotional."
A tragic accident that took the lives of two Monte Vista High School students earlier this year added a new level to the reality behind the reenactment.
"One student died on impact by going through the windshield and another student was air lifted by helicopter to the hospital, but died later," Conteras said. "It is a tragic story in more ways, because one brother was driving from a party and hit a truck head-on with his non-drinking brother's friends in the vehicle. The other brother who was not drunk was sitting in the passenger seat and ended up going through the windshield, killing him on impact. The parents were obviously torn with grief and disbelief. The desks of the students who died in the accident were left empty for the whole week and the funeral was held the next day. "
The event included the participation of the local Police and Fire Departments, High School staff, the local Hospital, a video production crew, community officials, the District Attorney's Office, funeral homes and a wide cross-section of the community at-large. The ultimate goal of the Every 15 Minutes Program is to utilize the strength, talent and resources of business and industry to prevent drunk driving and texting while driving.
The day's activities were chronicled in a short video.
"To watch the video of the Monte Vista High School's 2016 event, go to You Tube and search under Every 15 Minutes, Monte Vista HS 2016," Contreras said. "If you don't get chills and goose bumps when you watch this, you better get your pulse checked, because it is powerful to say the least."
With young lives being taken every day nationwide due to drunk driving, distracted driving and reckless speeding, Contreras sees the value of presentations such as Every 15 Minutes.
"Mike's Auto Body is proud and prepared to serve the communities in which we do business, because saving these teenagers is not just a goal--it's a priority," he said. "We all have kids here at Mike's, so this cause is very close to our hearts."