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Mercury Insurance Helps Police Teach Teens About the Dangers of Drinking and Driving


The positive impact of a Mercury Insurance Group-sponsored "Every 15 Minutes" program may go unnoticed this holiday season, particularly if it is effective and fewer students drink and drive. This high school anti drinking and driving educational effort was recently produced by the San Diego Police Department. Law enforcement agencies, school administrators and parents know that the holidays are a uniquely challenging time of year for drivers of all ages, as is reflected by December being designated "National Drunk and Drugged Driving (3D) Prevention Month" by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The goal of both Mercury Insurance and the San Diego Police Department is to reduce some sobering numbers and save lives. According to historical data from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in eight teens is likely to drive after drinking alcohol this holiday season, and 30 percent of American teens this month will ride with a driver who has been drinking alcohol. Additionally, statistics show that in 2003, 27 percent of 16- to 20-year-old passenger vehicle drivers fatally injured in crashes had blood alcohol levels of 0.08 percent or more, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

"Mercury Insurance is committed to serving our policyholders, their families and their communities," said Mercury's President and Chief Operating Officer, Gabriel Tirador. "This is a very serious issue and we hope that this program will help educate teens about the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol."

"Every 15 Minutes" is a nationally recognized, two-day program that dramatizes realistic consequences of drinking and driving. The story is a soul-shattering portrayal of the events surrounding the death of a teen that was killed by a teenage drunk driver. Acted out by students, teachers, parents, police officers, emergency response personnel and coroners, the program features a hyper realistic re-creation of the accident, as well as the heartbreaking portrayal of the events following the accident.

"Mercury Insurance's contribution significantly enhanced our efforts in educating teenage drivers of the potential fatal consequences of drinking and driving," said Sergeant Jan Hendrickson of the San Diego Police Department, Traffic Division, who produced the program on the University City High School campus in San Diego. "Mercury's efforts with this program personify excellence and serve as a role model for other businesses to emulate."

University City High School student Daniel Nyberg noted that, "It's deep watching yourself be the dead person and go through all the exercise."

"The program had a profound impact on the entire school, including students, faculty and parents," said Brook Feerick, President of the school's PTSA, organizer of the event. "Now we all have a heightened sensitivity to the very real dangers of drinking and driving."

Mercury's contribution helped meet the costs of staging the event, including event programs, t-shirts, meals, video tapes, make-up for the accident victims and much more.

Mercury Insurance (NYSE: MCY) provides insurance to individuals, families, and businesses and is the parent company of Mercury Insurance Group. The company currently operates in 13 states, including California, Florida and Texas, and primarily focuses on writing automobile policies.

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SOURCE: Mercury Insurance

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