Fredericton, New Brunswick – MADD Canada and Alcool NB Liquor are teaming up to educate New Brunswick students about the dangers of impaired driving with a powerful education program called The Pact.

The Pact is MADD Canada’s 2017-2018 School Assembly Program, which shows students the risks and consequences of driving while drunk and/or high. The dynamic program was screened for some New Brunswick schools in the fall and is now back in the province for another round of presentations. MADD Canada and Provincial Sponsor Alcool NB Liquor are hosting a special screening of The Pact at Bliss Carman Middle School in Fredericton today.

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.

“Our School Assembly Program engages young people in a dialogue about the very real risks of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, and provides them with the information and tools they need to make safe and responsible choices,” said MADD Canada National President Patricia Hynes-Coates. “This year’s program encourages students to make a pact now – rather than after a tragedy strikes – to keep themselves and their friends safe from impaired driving.”

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.

As a longtime sponsor of the School Assembly Program, Alcool NB Liquor supports the production of English and French versions of the program, and is sponsoring 56 presentations to New Brunswick students this school year.

“It’s crucial that young people understand the dangers of impaired driving and understand that they each have the power to prevent it,” said Brian Harriman, President and CEO of Alcool NB Liquor.  “ANBL is proud to be the funding partner for MADD Canada to deliver this life-saving message to young people around the province.”

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.

MADD Canada thanks Provincial Sponsor, Alcool NB Liquor, and National Sponsors, Allstate Insurance Company of Canada and RTL-Westcan Group of Companies, for their generous support of the School Assembly Program.

For more information, please contact:

Patricia Hynes-Coates, MADD Canada National President, 647-919-6233 or phynescoates@madd.ca
Mark Barbour, Communications, Alcool NB Liquor 506-260-4618