Oakville, Ontario — Canadian students are seeing how one single decision can change their lives forever in MADD Canada’s new 2019-2020 School Assembly Program, titled Over the Edge, which began its nation-wide tour of schools in September.
“Youth are at increased risk for impaired driving,” said MADD Canada Chief Executive Officer Andrew Murie. “Road crashes are the number one cause of death among Canadian youth. More than half of those crashes involve alcohol and/or drugs. Our School Assembly Program is aimed at students in Grades 7 – 12, to illustrate the dangers of impaired driving and get them talking about how they can prevent and avoid it.”
MADD Canada is marking the program’s national tour with a special screening at Hillcrest School in Edmonton today, in partnership with the program’s National Sponsors, Allstate Insurance Company of Canada and Westcan Bulk Transport.
Over the course of the school year, MADD Canada’s team of School Outreach Representatives will deliver more than 2,000 presentations of Over the Edge to middle and high schools across the country. With the support of Allstate Canada, Westcan Bulk Transport and other generous sponsors, hundreds of thousands of students will see this sober driving message over the current school year.
“Allstate Canada is proud to be part of this effort to educate youth about the dangers of impaired driving and help them establish a foundation for life-long safe and sober driving habits,” said Allstate Insurance Company of Canada President and CEO Ryan Michel. “MADD Canada’s School Assembly Program is an impactful way to begin that dialogue with youth people and encourage them to make safe and responsible choices.”
“Committed to industry excellence as a transportation leader, road safety remains a top priority and lies at the core of what we do across North America, every day,” said Grant Mitchell, Chief Operating Officer of the Kenan Advantage Group, Westcan Bulk Transport’s parent company. “Partnering with MADD Canada to bring the safe and sober driving message to young people is a natural fit for us, and we are pleased to once again support this important program.”
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 farm, 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 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 the road 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.
One evening, 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 of the young men, including Stanley, died in the crash and eleven were seriously or permanently injured.
Surveys show MADD Canada’s education efforts are resonating 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:
Dawn Regan, Chief Operating Officer, MADD Canada, 905-330-7565 or firstname.lastname@example.org Karen Benner, Manager PR, Allstate Canada, 905-415-4151 or email@example.com Fleur Jacobs, Communications Specialist, KAG Canada, 780-472-6633, ext. 01352 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Note to Assignment Editors:
For information on when Over the Edge is visiting your area, please contact Deb Kelly, MADD Canada Communications Manager, at 1-800-665-6233, ext. 240 or email@example.com