As a graphic new MADD Canada school program is touring the province, the provincial government is on track to pass stricter impaired driving legislation.

MADD unveiled its latest school assembly program at Scott Collegiate in Regina on Tuesday. Smashed is a striking fictional video account of the perils of impaired driving among teens, coupled with real testimonies from a victim and the family members of two people killed by drunk drivers.

Thanks to sponsorship by Saskatchewan Government Insurance and the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority, the presentation will be making a tour of 35 Saskatchewan schools.

“For some, your reaction to this video may be that it won’t happen to you; that kind of stuff only happens in movies or on a screen like this one. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case,” Donna Harpauer, the minister for SGI and SLGA, told Tuesday’s audience of more than 100 students.

Saskatchewan’s impaired driving rates are the worst among Canadian provinces. As Harpaeur related to the group, youth represent seven per cent of the province’s driving population, but in the past five years they have accounted for 18 per cent of those involved in fatal impaired driving collisions. In 2012, the province witnessed nearly 1,400 impaired driving crashes, injuring 738 people and killing 70.

Jamie Fisher is optimistic MADD’s school programs can help to decrease those rates. The MADD Western Canada field representative lost his mother to an impaired driver 15 years ago, when he was 22.

His Scott Collegiate visit represented his 175th presentation since September. He said although it’s difficult reliving the story of his mother’s death daily, he sees his job as “saving lives.” In addition to relaying the dangers of impaired driving, Smashed offers up a number of alternatives and measures teens can take to keep others safe.

“Impaired driving crashes? We have 100 per cent control over that,” Fisher told students. “It’s a decision that we make before we drink and it’s a decision that we make before we get behind the wheel.”

Harpauer said a bill detailing major changes to impaired driving legislation is in its second reading.

“We will definitely be implementing harder sanctions for those new drivers who are drinking and driving,” she said. “We are going to be also introducing a number of harder sanctions against those that are repeat offenders.”

Harpauer said she hopes to see the bill passed this spring.

Source: Leader Post


Last updated on: 2014-03-12 | Link to this post