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Md. high school raises awareness about drinking and driving

Thursday - 10/4/2012, 8:36pm  ET

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The grim reaper leads a student out of class on Thursday as part of a campaign to raise awareness about drinking and distracting driving deaths. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
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WASHINGTON - Every 15 minutes in the U.S., someone is killed or severely injured in an alcohol or distracted driving incident.

With homecoming fast approaching at high schools across the country, one local school is taking measures to prevent such an incident at their school.

The awareness program began on Thursday with a mock car-accident outside Winston Churchill High School in Potomac. Around 10:45 a.m., an announcement was made at the school that a crash with possible fatalities had occurred out front. Students went outside to witness a staged accident, complete with local police, fire and rescue and ambulance personnel.

Throughout the day, certain students were removed from class every 15 minutes by grim reapers -- volunteers dressed as the keeper of death -- to visually represent the national statistic of how many are killed by alcohol-related or distracted driving incidents each year.

"I have chills just watching the response from the students in the classroom," says Amy Smith, a parent at Winston Churchill High School.

When each student was removed, a mock obituary was read.

The event in Potomac was part of a national program called "Every 15 Minutes."

WTOP's Kathy Stewart contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)