Oakville/Ontario – As students settle in to a new school year, MADD Canada and its sponsors are debuting a new educational film aimed at keeping them safe from impaired driving.

The program, titled 24 Hours, will be shown at approximately 2,250 schools over the current school year. A special screening to highlight the national launch of the new program is being held today at Dan Knott Jr. High School in Edmonton.

24 Hours shows the fictional story of Michelle, Lainey and Nate as they attend a bush party dubbed “The End of the World”. Getting into the spirit of the theme, the friends discuss what they would do if the end of the world was actually near and they only had 24 hours to live. Nate has agreed to be the group’s designated driver on the night of the party and agreed to not drink any alcohol, but Lainey later catches him smoking pot. Now, with no designated driver, the friends end up in a vehicle with a person they trust to be sober. They could never imagine how significant that earlier conversation about their last day would become. Following the fictional story, 24 Hours goes on to show emotional interviews with real real-life victims of impaired driving.

“Road crashes are the number one cause of death among young people in Canada and more than 50 per cent of these deaths are alcohol and/or drug-related,” said MADD Canada National President Angeliki Souranis.

“Educating youth about the dangers of impaired driving and empowering them to make safe choices for themselves and their friends is crucial to reducing their risk of crash, death and injury.”

“Allstate Canada and our agents across the country are pleased to once again work with MADD Canada on the School Assembly Program. It’s an excellent way to engage students in this important discussion,” said John O’Donnell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Allstate Insurance Company of Canada. “With every presentation and with every student reached, 24 Hours educates young people and empowers them to make decisions that will keep them, their friends and their communities safe.”

“At RTL-Westcan, transportation is our business and road safety is crucial,” said Grant Mitchell, President and Chief Executive Officer of RTL-Westcan Group of Companies. “This program to protect young people and improve safety on our roads is near and dear to our hearts, and we are proud to support MADD Canada in the delivery of its life-saving message.”

Evidence shows that MADD Canada’s strategies to reach young people are working. A 2013-2014 survey of students who saw that year’s School Assembly Program, titled Smashed, showed:

  • 81% of students said it is not okay to drink any amount and drive. In the follow-up survey three months later, 82% expressed the same feeling.
  • The great majority of students said they were not at all likely to accept a ride from someone who had consumed alcohol (80%) or had used marijuana (87%). In the follow-up survey, the rate for alcohol remained the same three months later while the rate for marijuana actually rose to 94%.
  • Nearly all students who participated in the follow-up survey agreed that there would likely be consequences to drinking and driving, including getting into a crash (95%), being injured or killed (94%), and that the police would find out (94%).

For more information, or to check out a clip from 24 Hours, please visit our School Assembly Program page in the Youth Services section on the MADD Canada web site at www.madd.ca.

For more information, please contact: 

Angeliki Souranis, MADD Canada National President, 514-515-6233 or asouranis@madd.ca

Kevin Wilson, Senior Communications Specialist, Allstate Insurance Company of Canada, 905-475-4536 or kwilson@allstate.ca

Zoë LeParque, Communications Associate, RTL-Westcan Group of Companies, 780-472-6633 or zleparque@westcanbulk.ca

Note to Assignment Editors: For information on when 24 Hours is visiting your area, please contact Deb Kelly, MADD Canada Communications Manager, at 1-800-665-6233, ext. 240 or dkelly@madd.ca.