Drinking and driving can be deadly. Students at Notre Dame Regional High School in Cape Girardeau recently experienced firsthand the tragic consequences of mixing alcohol and driving during a mock accident staged on the school's campus. The students saw the crash scene, the body of a dead teenager nearby, the anguish of parents who arrived at the scene and the efforts of emergency personnel who worked the accident.
For many students, the realism of the mock accident was emotional as well as educational. "I would never want my mom and dad to go through that," said a freshman student. Here are the statistics:
* A person dies every 15 minutes in an alcohol-related crash.
* Of the 6,784 alcohol-related crashes in 2008, 32 percent of the fatalities and 42 percent of the injuries occurred to someone other than the driver.
* In 2006, 31 percent of drivers aged 15 to 20 who were killed in car accidents were drinking.
Notre Dame officials feel so strongly about exposing students to the dangers of drinking and driving that they require students -- and their parents -- to attend an educational session on the subject before students can participate in prom or graduation events.
For a serious topic, this is a serious effort.