The program teaches students about the perils of drinking and driving

TEMPLETON — On Tuesday, March 26, and Wednesday, March 27, Templeton High School (THS) participated in Every 15 Minutes. The two-day program, which was put on with the help of the Templeton CHP (California Highway Patrol), teaches high school students about the risks of unsafe driving, including drinking and driving, driving while high, and other forms of distracted driving. Every 15 minutes, someone dies from a distracted driving incident.

“We [Templeton CHP] help provide the grant that pays for the event, and we oversee it and make sure that all the requirements for the grant are met. Then we help coordinate everything. Like with the tow companies and the helicopter and that kind of stuff,” said Patrick Seebart, Public Information Officer for the Templeton CHP Office.

When Every 15 Minutes happens at an unincorporated school, like THS, the CHP not only helps with the grants but they also do the arresting officer portion of the program. When schools in cities like Paso Robles or Atascadero participate, their own police officers are used to that section of the event.


“We had about, approximately, 800 people. That was students, faculty, community members, parents, and stuff like that that came and attended the two-day event,” stated Seebart.

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Templeton CHP helped THS’s Friday Night Live with putting on this year’s Every 15 Minutes. Photo by Matt Macfarlene.

Every 15 Minutes has impacted students’ lives for decades and is instrumental in showing the horrendous truths of distracted driving, with a focus on the perils of drinking and driving. Not only was the CHP involved with the program, but they worked closely with the Friday Night Live group at THS, as well as other high school students.

The students who were part of Friday Night Live were the ones who planned and worked on the event. Usually, they have six months, but the Templeton crew only had three to pull it all together. Those students are also the ones who pick the other students who would be involved. Seebart said they purposefully reached out to the popular kids in every group on campus to create the biggest reach for the program, which included the whole of the student body.

“The first day of the event is the crash scene, which happens on one of the fields of the school. Then the kids that are involved in the program are whisked away to a hotel where they have some team bonding and some guest speakers, [chaperones], and that kind of stuff,” added Seebart. “The day of the event, when they come in, all the kids involved in the crash, we take their cell phones, and they don’t get their cell phones back until day two. What that’s supposed to do is simulate a day without them, such as if they passed away in a car crash. There’s no social media, no texting their friends, their parents, anything like that. Their parents are aware of it. They know it’s coming.”

Twenty-two students participated and were memorialized during the program, which includes a mock funeral for a student who ‘passed away’ in the simulated crash the day before. Their parents even get up and give a eulogy to make it real to those watching. There’s a casket, flowers, and a large photo of the student in the gym to make the scene feel real. After that, the Friday Night Live advisor got up and talked to the student body about how lucky they all were that it was a mock crash and all the students and their parents were reunited. 

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Around 800 students, parents, members of school faculty, and community members watched this year’s Every 15 Minutes. Photo by Matt Macfarlene.

“[In the] North County, we’ve been doing it [Every 15 Minutes] once a year, and we just rotate high schools,” added Seebart. “Last year, we did Coast Unified over in Cambria, and this year was Templeton, so next year, hopefully, we’ll be either at Atascadero or Paso Robles.”

Seebart, who’s been participating in Every 15 Minutes for the last seven years, said that he truly believes the program impacts the students of North County and was impressed by what the THS student body put together.

“I think the kids and their program spoke for itself. You know, drinking and driving — it’s something that no matter what, we’re always gonna be a part of,” he added.

Last year, in 2023, Templeton CHP arrested 52 young adults, ages 14 through 20, for DUIs. Not all of the incidents involved crashes. 

Learn more about the statewide program, Every 15 Minutes here