SOURCE: MADD Canada

MADD Canada

May 10, 2017 07:00 ET

With Prom and Grad Season Fast Approaching, PEI Students See How Impaired Driving Can Devastate Lives 'In The Blink Of An Eye'

ELMSDALE, PE--(Marketwired - May 10, 2017) - As students around the province look forward to proms, grads and year-end parties, MADD Canada and Prince Edward Island Liquor Control Commission (PEILCC) are visiting schools this week to deliver a powerful sober driving message.

MADD Canada's 2016-2017 School Assembly Program, titled In the Blink of an Eye, is being presented to students to illustrate the devastating consequences of impaired driving. MADD Canada and PEILCC are hosting a special screening for students and staff at Westisle Composite High School today. The program was also delivered to several schools earlier this year.

In the Blink of an Eye tells the story of best friends Gabby and Sarah. One night, as the girls prepare to go to a party, they are joined by Sarah's boyfriend Dylan, and his friend Asif. Sarah drinks and smokes pot with Dylan and Asif, while Gabby declines. Dylan, anxious to get to the party, decides to drive rather than wait for a cab. His friends strongly object and refuse to get in the car. A very upset Sarah calls 911 to report Dylan, while Asif walks Gabby home. Even though Gabby, Asif and Sarah all do the right thing, a tragic twist of fate ends a friendship abruptly and ruins many lives. And it all happens in the blink of an eye.

Road crashes are the leading cause of death among young people in Canada, and more than half of those crashes involve alcohol and/or drugs.

"This is a special and exciting time for students, as they plan for parties, proms and grads," said MADD Canada National President Patricia Hynes-Coates. "It's also an important time to talk to them about the dangers of driving impaired. Celebration can turn to tragedy in the blink of an eye if someone gets behind the wheel after driving or doing drugs. We want young people to understand there are always safe and sober options. Driving impaired is never worth the risk."

PEILCC has been a generous supporter of MADD Canada for several years, partnering on many education, awareness and fundraising initiatives. As the Provincial Sponsor of the School Assembly Program, PEILCC helps educate thousands of teens about the risks of impaired driving by directly sponsoring 13 presentations at schools around the province.

"We are proud to partner with MADD Canada in this effort to educate young people, and to empower them with the information and tools they need to make safe, responsible decisions that will protect themselves and their peers from impaired driving," said James MacLeod, Director of Corporate Services for the PEI Liquor Control Commission.

In addition to the fictional storyline in In the Blink of an Eye, 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:

  • Dean "DJ" Hancock
    DJ Hancock was on his way home from a hockey tryout when his car was struck head-on by an impaired driver who crossed the centre line. DJ's parents arrived on the scene minutes later. He was breathing when his parents got there, but died as he was lifted from the mangled car.
  • Jackie Dionne
    Jackie and Kevin Clements were passengers in a car driven by a friend who was impaired by alcohol and drugs. The impaired driver lost control and crashed into a ditch. The driver and another passenger were treated for injuries and released. Jackie was killed instantly and Kevin died the next day. Jackie had a toddler son, Jayden.
  • Mackenzie Fragoso
    Mackenzie was riding in a car with her dad, David Fragoso, and step-mother, Charlotte Patterson, when they were hit head-on by an impaired driver who crossed the centre line. David and Charlotte were killed. Seriously injured, 12-year-old Mackenzie was pulled from the burning vehicle seconds before it exploded.

To see a clip from In the Blink of an Eye, please visit our School Assembly Program page in the Youth Services section on the MADD Canada web site at www.madd.ca.

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.

Contact Information

  • For more information, please contact:

    Susan MacAskill
    MADD Canada Chapter Services Manager - Atlantic Region
    902-799-0498
    atlantic@madd.ca

    James MacLeod
    PEI Liquor Control Commission Director of Corporate Services
    902-368-3714
    jcmacleod@gov.pe.ca