MADD Canada

MADD Canada

September 19, 2013 09:30 ET

Impact, MADD Canada's New School Assembly Program, Begins Tour in Quebec

OAKVILLE, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 19, 2013) - With the new school year underway, MADD Canada is reaching out to students with a powerful new School Assembly Program to educate them about the dangers of impaired driving and encourage them to always make safe and responsible choices.

The program, titled Impact, shows Natalie, Pierre and Corinne ditching a school dance to go to a house party with Jonathan. Once there, Natalie drinks too much and when Jonathan, who has also been drinking, leaves the party to get pot, a drunken Natalie makes the terrible decision to go with him. Pierre does everything he can to stop Natalie from getting in the car but she won't listen. Corinne calls 911 and then she and Pierre get in her car to follow their friend. What happens next is a nightmare that none of the young friends could ever have imagined.

"Impact shows a realistic scenario in which a night of partying quickly turns to tragedy when someone makes the wrong decision," said MADD Canada National President Denise Dubyk. "We want students to watch this and really give some thought to how they can avoid situations and decisions which put themselves and their friends at risk through impaired driving."

Impact is the second entirely French production for MADD Canada's School Assembly Program. The show's tour kicks off officially today, with a special screening for students and staff of Polyvalente Benoît-Vachon in Sainte-Marie. The event is hosted in partnership with National Sponsor Allstate Insurance Company of Canada.

"Visiting schools with this educational program is a powerful way to stress the sober driving message and show young people that driving impaired is never a risk worth taking," said John O'Donnell, President and CEO of Allstate Canada. "Allstate Canada and our agents across the country are proud to support the production and delivery of MADD Canada's School Assembly Program."

Young people are over-represented in impaired driving crashes. Youth between 16 and 25 years old represented just 13.7 per cent of the population in 2009 but they accounted for nearly a third (31.1 per cent) of all alcohol-related road crash deaths. MADD Canada's School Assembly Program aims to get young people thinking about the dangers of impaired driving and the need to take precautions to protect themselves and their friends. Most importantly, it reinforces the fact that every single one of the deaths and injuries caused by impaired driving are entirely preventable.

Following the fictional story of Natalie, Pierre and Corinne, students see the compelling stories of three real-life victims of impaired driving:

  • Caroline Fortier was only 17 years old when she was killed. She was a passenger in a car being driven by an acquaintance who was impaired and speeding.

  • Nadia Pruneau was the other passenger in the car with Caroline. She was killed on her 18th birthday.

  • Seventeen-year-old Nicholas Antonelli was celebrating a friend's birthday with family and friends. While walking home, he was hit head on by an impaired driver who had been at the same party.

"We are incredibly grateful to the families of these victims for sharing their stories," Ms. Dubyk said. "It is a very difficult thing to do but their experiences will encourage young people to make the commitments to always drive sober and to never ride with an impaired driver."

The School Assembly Program has been a cornerstone of MADD Canada's youth services since 1994. The presentations are well-received by young people and positively impact their behaviour. In a 2012-2013 survey, those students who saw the program were more likely to say it is not okay to drink any amount before driving; that marijuana use will make someone drive a lot worse; and that those who drive while impaired will face serious consequences. Equally important, the message is being retained. In a follow-up survey three months later, the anti-impaired driving attitudes expressed by students was at the same or higher levels than it was immediately following the presentation. Further, the follow-up survey showed a higher number of students who said they planned ahead before going to parties where drugs or alcohol may be present, compared to the national baseline survey. Students were also less likely to have recently accepted a ride from someone who was impaired.

Approximately one million students across Canada will see Impact, and the English language program, Smashed, in 2013-2014, thanks to our generous sponsors such as Allstate Insurance Company of Canada, Kia Canada Inc and RTL-Westcan.

For more information, or to check out a clip from Impact, please visit our School Assembly Program page in our Youth Services section on the MADD Canada web site at www.madd.ca.

Note to Assignment Editors: For information on when Impact is visiting your area, please contact Deb Kelly, MADD Canada Communications Manager at 1-800-665-6233 or dkelly@madd.ca.

Contact Information

  • Marie Claude Morin
    MADD Canada Chapter Services Manager - Quebec Region
    1-877-392-6233

    Kevin Wilson
    Senior Communications Specialist
    Allstate Insurance Company of Canada
    905-475-4527