Questa High School held its prom on Friday, April 22. It was hosted in Taos, so our students had to travel for their celebration. Did you know that one-third of all alcohol-related traffic fatalities occur during prom and graduation season (April-June)? Because of this, Vida Del Norte partnered with the high school, Questa Volunteer Firefighters, EMTs, the National Guard, and the Sheriff’s Department to organize a DWI awareness campaign.
A big part of this campaign was a DWI crash simulation on April 21 at Questa High. Medina’s Towing brought two wrecked vehicles to the field behind the high school and the vehicles were staged to look as though one had crashed into the other due to a drunk driving accident. All the students came outside to watch as the firefighters skillfully tore open the vehicle with their giant cutters and axes and then the EMTs pulled two National Guard members out of the crash and wheeled them on gurneys to the ambulance. The scene looked and felt very real. The goal of this simulation was to get teens to think twice about drinking and driving during prom and graduation and make the choice not to drive while intoxicated. Vida Del Norte hopes that all high school students will make a PROMise to not drive drunk during prom, graduation, or any time!
In addition to helping organize the DWI crash simulation, a DWI presentation was held, organized by the Sheriff’s Department. Throughout the week leading up to prom, Vida Del Norte also posted a series of infographics that remind parents and teens about the dangers of driving intoxicated, especially during prom and graduation time. These infographics were created by Jordan S. Romero, the coordinator for the Taos Pueblo Awareness Coalition, an organization that is part of Taos County’s DFC (drug-free community) along with Vida Del Norte Coalition and the Taos Alive Coalition.
The infographics reminded parents of the importance of talking to their teens about underage drinking and driving, illustrating the large number of alcohol-related fatalities that occur during prom and graduation season. For example, one read: “85% of teens say that they or their peers are likely to drive impaired because they fear getting into trouble, 21% of teens have made the right decision to call their parents to pick them up because they or their driver was impaired.” Another read: “Let your teens know that a [police] saturation patrol will be taking place on Prom night, and they need to be careful. If your teens are 18 or older, they will be charged with ‘Minor in Possession.’ If they are under 18, they will have to go to juvenile court. BOTH could jeopardize their futures.”
Vida del Norte Coalition wants to thank everyone who helped with the DWI awareness campaign to remind our youth to make smart decisions and never risk lives by driving intoxicated. If you would like tips on how to talk to your teen about making smart choices and not misusing substances, please visit vidadelnorte.com/talk.