Reason Writers Around Town: Katherine Mangu-Ward on "Scared Straight" Drunk Driving Prevention


At The Weekly Standard, Associate Editor Katherine Mangu-Ward reports on how some high schools are using fake blood and phony death announcements to scare students away from drunk driving.

Read all about it here.

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  1. Good rule of thumb: never engage in any behavior you see on Reno 911.

  2. /sarcasm on

    Yes, keep lying to them “for the children”. I can’t see what harm that could possibly cause.

    /sarcasm off

  3. They just hauled us out to the football field and showed us the wreckage of cars that had been in DD accidents. No lying, no doublespeak, just metallic carnage. Then they gave us fifty cents each to “call for a ride if you need to.” Simpler, pre-affordable cellular times.

    Anything more than that really is just overkill.

  4. oops, “been in DD accidents”. They had clearly been in accidents.

  5. Didn’t this very thing get covered here about 3-4 months ago?

    IIRC, an officer was tasked with delivering the “news” to a class, and then there was some ridiculous over-the-top touch like a rose placed on the “victim”‘s seat.

  6. If I were a parent I would spit blood over this. But then again, I would never send my kid to a school that would allow this.

  7. Episiarch, You probably wouldn’t find out until it was happening, so your kid would already be in the school. You could change schools but where ya going? I would be suprised if any school didn’t do some BS thing like this. Maybe not Scared sober, maybe suspending kids with asprin, or jackbooted wall locker raid by the local cop shop. They sure know how to make home schooling attractive.

  8. Here is the response I got from MADD when I contacted them several months ago about the program and the fact that the program name overstates the fatality rate by 100%:

    Hello, and thank you for contacting Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

    A recent news report erroneously connected Mothers Against Drunk Driving with the school program “Every 15 Minutes.” While MADD volunteers do occasionally assist their local high schools with the program by telling how their lives have been touched by drunk driving, “Every 15 Minutes” is not and has never been a MADD school outreach program, nor was it designed by MADD. During a recent presentation of this program in San Diego, CA, a MADD volunteer shared her personal story as a victim of drunk driving at a school assembly. That was the extent of MADD’s participation in this particular event.

    We also use NHTSA’s 17000 figure. In fact, on our site, we use the following statistic:

    In 2006, an estimated 17,602 people died in alcohol-related traffic crashes-an average of one every 30 minutes. These deaths constitute 41 percent of the 42,642 total traffic fatalities. Of these, an estimated 13,470 involved a driver with an illegal BAC (.08 or greater). On average someone is killed by a drunk driver every 39 minutes.

    We hope this cleared up the confusion.

    Thank you for your email

    They don’t seem to spend any energy urging the creators of this bullshit to change their name though.

  9. The earlier people learn that the government lies to them all the time, the better.

  10. Sorta on-topic: some university heads are renewing the debate about the drinking age. Kind of odd to think that educated people would be in favor of letting adults make their own decisions, huh?

  11. Didn’t this very thing get covered here about 3-4 months ago?


    I see the thought process going something like this.

    “We’ll lie to the impessionable youngsters, then when they find out we are liars about this, they will somehow be discerning enough to ferret out and give credence to what we weren’t lying about.”

    Marijuan propoganda = bullshit. So a young man, who shall remain nameless, observes this, discounts all the true info disseminated about opiates, stimulants, hallucinogens, etc. and proceeds to sample every thing he can get ahold of.

    Teenagers are as smart as adults, just less experienced.
    Lying to them will teach them a lesson. Not the one you intend, but they will learn something.

  12. version staged at Middlesex High School in New Jersey cost about $6,000, plus the time of 60 people from local law enforcement and rescue crews, including a state Medevac helicopter that landed on the football field to transport dying student Tiffany Thornton to the hospital, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. In Cathedral City, police helicopters flew overhead as the local high school enacted their own version of the Every 15 Minutes program, complete with real firefighters, an ambulance, and a hearse. No one mentions two lost days of actual academic instruction.

    Are we still wondering in other threads why some students leave school?

  13. What’s wrong with the kids today that cops have to make up fatalities?

    When I was a kid, we lost *REAL* students to drinking and driving.

  14. Any parents that were offended by this should have banded together and told the school their kids would not be attending the next day, as they had committed suicide.
    The following day they should attend as usual.

    Also, faking a horrible death to achieve a specific reaction sure sounds like terrorism to me. Repeated use of the word terrorism in all criticism of the school is recommended.

  15. “Are we still wondering in other threads why some students leave school?”

    Back in the day (cough cough), I used to think you had to be a dumbass of the highest order to blow your chance at a free education, and that only the biggest losers left school.

    Now I’m thinking just the opposite. Seems like if a kid has initiative and brains, he’s better off getting a GED and a job than wasting his time being brainwashed with this dreck.

  16. Maybe it’s my inner jerk speaking, but after looking at their products page, all I could think of is “I wonder if I could get them to put their logo on a shot glass?”
    I’d buy that in a minute.

  17. It worked on Otis on the Andy Griffith Show. Of course they convinced him that HE had been killed in a drunk driving accident (to scare him into selling his car I think — they knew Otis wouldn’t stop drinking).

  18. this is what you get
    when you mess with us

  19. Once upon a time there was a boy who cried “Wolf”…

  20. When I was a kid, we lost *REAL* students to drinking and driving.

    Hmm. We didn’t. And holy crap, did we drink and drive. I lived in a dry county, so you had to drive 25 miles just to get a six-pack.

    It was my introduction to the law of unintended consequences: People living in a dry county have to drive long distances to buy booze, so, while they’re at the liquor store, they stock up. Since they have a lot of booze in the house, they drink more. Hence, dry county = heavy drinking.

  21. When I was in high school, one kid I knew was killed by a drunk driver. He was riding his bike on the sidewalk, and the drunk hopped the curb and hit him from behind.


  22. “Teenagers are as smart as adults, just less experienced.”

    False. The human brain isn’t fully developed until about the age of 22-years-old.

  23. In regards to the comment that stated this should be referred to as terrorism I wanted to post the definition of terrorism as found at

    Main Entry: ter?ror?ism
    Pronunciation: \?ter-?r-?i-z?m\
    Function: noun
    Date: 1795

    : the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion

  24. [i]False. The human brain isn’t fully developed until about the age of 22-years-old.[/i]
    Of course, when your brain is “fully developed”, you lose most of your ability to learn.

  25. “””False. The human brain isn’t fully developed until about the age of 22-years-old.”””

    Red Herring. The issue is smarts, not brain development. The two do not necessarily go hand in hand. The article is a case in point. The school admin has a more developed brain but I’ll bet some of the less developed brains in the school knows trying to tramatize kids over false events is NOT smart.

  26. teach your kids what Ralph Waldo Emerson said long ago. Dont be a “man thinking”( regeritating facts) , but in all things be a “thinking man” , asking why?
    I may have those backwards, so correct me if ya have a need. Never was one for facts.

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