Oakville, Ontario — MADD Canada’s School Assembly Program, currently touring schools around the province, is showing students how one decision to drive impaired can change their lives, and the lives of their families and friends, forever.

Road crashes are the number one cause of death among Canadian youth, 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. 

The 2019-2020 School Assembly Program, titled Over the Edge, is being delivered to students in Grades 7 – 12 to highlight the dangers of impaired driving, and how they can prevent it.

“Our School Assembly Program shows young people that driving impaired is a decision that can have devastating consequences that can never be undone,” said Dawn Regan, MADD Canada’s Chief Operating Officer. “We hope to give them the information, tools and motivation to always choose a sober ride, and to never put themselves in danger by driving impaired or riding with an impaired driver.”

MADD Canada is marking the program’s provincial tour with a special screening at Holy Trinity High School today, in partnership with Provincial Sponsor Newfoundland Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC). NLC directly sponsors 10 presentations at schools around the province, helping bring the crucial sober driving message to thousands of students.

“Teaming with MADD Canada to deliver this hard-hitting presentation is an important way that NLC can help encourage young people to make safe and responsible decisions, and protect them from the tragic and senseless consequences of impaired driving,” said Sean Ryan, Vice President of Regulatory Services and Social Responsibility for NLC.

Over The Edge shows the story of 17-year-old Sam, who moves back to her hometown to live with her Dad while her Mom travels for work. At a party to celebrate Sam’s homecoming, she reunites with her two best friends, Kat and Adam, and meets Kat’s friend, Steve. The group catches up while drinking and smoking cannabis. Things quickly get out of hand when Kat divulges a secret, and Sam and Adam leave. Knowing she shouldn’t drive, Sam calls her Dad to pick them up. The next morning, Sam and her Dad decide to go fishing. On the way, Sam gets a text from Kat saying that Steve is driving impaired. Sam and her Dad agree to pick Kat up at a nearby gas station, and Sam calls the police to report Steve’s impaired driving. Suddenly, a crash happens, changing all of their lives forever.

After that fictional story concludes, viewers see interviews with real-life victims of impaired driving who talk about their loved ones who were killed or injured in crashes. This year’s program tells the stories of:

Cassius Richards

Cassius was killed when an impaired driver, with over twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system, sped through a red light and hit his car. The impaired driver was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison. For Cassius’ family, there is a void left in their hearts that can never be filled.

Doug Stewart & Emily Stewart

A day before Father’s Day, Doug and his daughter Emily were on their way home when a cannabis-impaired driver collided with their car head-on after swerving into the middle of a two-lane highway. Doug was killed in the crash. Emily suffered broken bones and a critical brain injury, and was not expected to live. With courage and perseverance, she survived and has made inspiring progress, but she will never fully recover from her injury.

Stanley Thomson

Four carloads of teenagers stopped at a restaurant on their way home from a high school graduation party. After getting a bite to eat, the friends got back into their cars, with one of the drivers high on cannabis, and they headed home. The driver who was high began to play a daring game of leapfrog with his vehicle. Suddenly, one vehicle pulled out directly in front of an oncoming tractor trailer and triggered a devastating chain reaction of collisions. Five young men, including Stanley, died in the crash and 11 were seriously or permanently injured.

Surveys show MADD Canada’s education efforts resonate with young people. In a 2017-2018 survey about that year’s School Assembly Program, titled The Pact, students said: the program effectively delivered the sober driving message (66%); it motivated them to make the right decision when it comes to preventing impaired driving (74%) ; they had or planned to have conversations with family and friends about impaired driving (73%); and they supported having a similar presentation at the school the following year (97%).

To see a clip of the new program, visit the School Programs page on the MADD Canada web site at: https://madd.ca/pages/programs/youth-services/school-programs/ .

For more information, please contact:

Deb Kelly, Communications Manager, MADD Canada, 1-800-665-6233, ext 240 or dkelly@madd.ca.

Darrell Smith, Manager, Marketing & Communications, NLC, 709-724-1165 or darrell.smith@nlliquor.com