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DUI demo worth doing again

E D I T O R I A LDUI Demo worth doing again

By Jamie Householder

Booker High students witnessed firsthand the dangers of drinking and driving during Prom time last school year. In front of Building 1, two mangled vehicles were placed on Orange Avenue on May 18. The Grim Reaper pulled students out of class to play the part of the “victims.” The victims were positioned in the vehicles and made to look as if they were injured.

Every student was asked to leave class to watch as Sarasota police officers, the Fire Department, and EMS all responded and acted as if they were rescuing the victims. A hearse was brought from Toale Brothers to transport a victim who had been “killed.”

The goal of the program, “Every 15 Minutes,” was to influence students to think about the impact drinking can have on driving and how it affects family and friends.

In 2015, according to the Florida Department Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, alcohol had been suspected in 16,400 crashes. According to the Centers for Disease Control, every 1 in 3 accidents in the United States involves a drunk driver.

And at Booker, Prom was two days after the demonstration.

Here are the real questions: Did Booker only do this DUI demonstration because of Prom? Did it make a difference? Was it worth the time out of class?

In a Suncoast Network News video, Booker student Andrew Berg said: “One of my good friends was involved in a car accident leaving a party drunk and he got 3rd degree burns all over his body and his life was changed forever.” Berg wasn’t the only student who was mindful of the demonstration.

“We do believe the mock DUI crash helped make a different in the lives of students based on comments made to teachers and officers after the event.” said Genevieve Judge of the Sarasota Police Department.

Last year was the first time Booker hosted a DUI demonstration, according to Assistant Principal Darby Larkin. The Sarasota

Police Department mentioned the idea to Booker administration, and Booker had to pay only for a professional make-up artist, at $50. The Police Department paid for the rest through the officers’ normal wages.

Originally, I thought that Booker did this because of Prom, and that staff may not understand this could happen at any point in time. But I was wrong, and if the police department hadn’t come up with it, we might not have even seen the demonstration -- and students may not have thought twice about drinking and driving. So we thank the Police Department and the staff of Booker High School for allowing students to see what could have happened to anyone on Prom night, or any night for that matter.

Ms. Larkin said the staff is considering having the demonstration again. We should.

Students participate in the Mock DUI. Photos by the Sarasota Police Department.