SOURCE: MADD Canada

MADD Canada

September 07, 2017 10:30 ET

New Program Urges Students to Make a Pact To Prevent Impaired Driving Before Tragedy Occurs

Together with Provincial Sponsor LCBO, MADD Canada launches 2017-2018 School Assembly Program in Ontario.

HAMILTON, ON--(Marketwired - September 07, 2017) - School is back and so are MADD Canada and the LCBO with a dynamic new School Assembly Program to educate Ontario students about the very real dangers of driving while drunk and/or high.

Road crashes are the number one cause of death among teens and young adults, and alcohol and/or drugs are involved in more than half of those crashes. Every year, MADD Canada produces a new School Assembly Program to educate students in Grades 7 - 12 about the risks of impaired driving. MADD Canada and the LCBO hosted a special screening of The Pact for students at Sherwood Secondary School in Hamilton today to launch this year's program.

"Our films communicate directly with young people and encourage them to consider the risks of driving after drinking and/or taking drugs," said MADD Canada National President Patricia Hynes-Coates. "We want to empower them with the information and tools they need to make safe choices."

The 2017-2018 School Assembly Program, titled The Pact, tells the story of Zoe, who is at a new school and struggling to fit in. After landing in detention for skipping class, she meets James, Charli, Nisha and Will. When they invite her to a party, Zoe is happy that she is finally making friends. At the party, Nisha has too much to drink. Charli is sober and can drive her home, but is worried about leaving Zoe behind. James offers to drive Zoe. Even though James has been smoking pot, Zoe convinces herself and her friends that all will be fine because he wasn't drinking. When the car crashes, the whole group of friends is changed forever. Devastated by the tragedy but hoping to build something positive, the friends form a special pact.

MADD Canada and the LCBO will deliver approximately 1,600 presentations at Ontario schools to urge students to make their own pacts now -- rather than after a tragedy strikes -- to keep themselves and their friends safe from impaired driving.

The LCBO is a long-time supporter of MADD Canada and a generous Provincial Partner of the School Assembly Program. Each December, LCBO customers and staff raise funds through the Giving Back in Our Community campaign. The funds are instrumental in the production of the School Assembly Program and its delivery to Ontario students.

"MADD Canada's School Assembly Program is a powerful and effective way to engage young people in the conversation on the dangers of impaired driving. Through the commitment of our employees and the generosity of our customers, we are proud to have raised $2.4 million for this program and of the LCBO's role in helping ensure that more than half a million Ontario students will see, and remember, The Pact," said LCBO President & CEO George Soleas.

"We are so grateful for the tremendous support we receive from the LCBO," said Ms. Hynes-Coates. "In community after community all across this province, LCBO customers and staff have joined MADD Canada in this important effort to protect young people and prevent impaired driving. We simply could not produce a program of this quality or deliver it to hundreds of thousands of students each year without their incredible contributions."

In addition to the fictional storyline in The Pact, the presentation also features emotional real-life accounts of victims of impaired driving. In fact, it is the victim testimonials that have the most lasting impact on students. This year's program tells the stories of:

  • Carol Grimmond - Carol and her twin brother, Colin, were travelling to their mother's home when an impaired driver, going the wrong way on the highway, struck them head-on. Colin suffered minor injuries. Carol was seriously injured and airlifted to hospital where she died.
  • Craig Watson - After a day at the lake, Craig and three high school friends piled into a van for the 5-minute drive to one of the friend's cottages. All had been drinking and no one was wearing seat belts. The driver lost control of the vehicle. Craig was ejected from the passenger window and the van rolled over him, killing him.
  • Maia Vezina - Maia and her mother Pat were hit head-on by an impaired driver. Pat suffered broken bones and internal injuries, was on life support for a time and required numerous surgeries. Maia broke both femurs, both ankles and both arms, her left knee, pelvis, right wrist, left clavicle, a rib and left cheekbone. Both women have had very long recoveries and still suffer the effects of their injuries.

For more information, or to view a clip from The Pact, please visit http://madd.ca/pages/programs/youth-services/school-programs/the-pact/.

Evidence shows that MADD Canada's strategies to reach young people are working. In a 2015-2016 survey of students who saw that year's School Assembly Program, titled 24 Hours: 80% of respondents said the program was effective in delivering its message about not driving while impaired; two-thirds of respondents said the presentation will be effective in changing behaviours regarding impaired driving; and 97% of respondents supported a similar presentation the following year.

Note to Assignment Editors: For information on when The Pact is visiting your area, please contact Deb Kelly, MADD Canada Communications Manager, at 1-800-665-6233, ext. 240 or dkelly@madd.ca.

Contact Information

  • For more information, please contact:

    Patricia Hynes-Coates
    MADD Canada National President
    647-919-6233
    phynescoates@madd.ca

    Silvana Aceto
    LCBO Senior Communications Consultant
    416-864-6792
    silvana.aceto@lcbo.com