The dangers of drinking and driving are well-established, but the risks of driving while on drugs or fatigued can be just as high.

That’s the message Students Against Destructive Decisions are looking to drive home with a dodgeball tournament and free community BBQ tonight at the high school. 

The tournament takes place tonight, May 9 at the Beaumont Composite High School gym from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. 

Beaumont Composite teacher and co-organizer Trish Hrytsak said the aim of the event is to raise awareness about impaired driving in a positive way.

It’s not a coincidence that the event is happening at the same time a trial takes place for a man who is facing nine impaired driving-related charges following a collision in 2011 that left three youth from the area and Beaumont dead. 

“I think it’s important, at this time, especially with the trial on the go, that we rally together and remember why a group like this exists,” Hrytsak said.

She said the incident in 2011 affected the whole school and brought the effects of impaired driving close to home. But this event is a reminder that impaired driving also entails other risky behaviours, such as driving while intoxicated from drugs.

“After the accident two and a half years ago, I think people got the drinking and driving message pretty clear,” Hrytsak said. “When you talk to the kids, they speak with disgust when talking about drinking and driving ... But they don’t think about driving while high, or texting while driving, or even driving tired in the same way.”

Grade 12 SADD president Taylor Christiansen said drinking and driving continues to be a problem among his peers.

“We’re not supposed to drink, legally, but kids underage still drink and may not be able to drive,” he said. “So that is a big factor, because they drive to a party, and don’t want to stay there so just drive home. And that’s a danger for everyone.

“Even if it’s just five minutes away, you still put other drivers at risk and even people walking on the street,” he added.

Christiansen said the 2011 incident affected him and his friends significantly, and that’s part of the reason they feel this event is an important one.

“We had just lost the two boys from Beaumont and the one from Leduc, and that was a big eye opener that this can happen to you,” he said. “You’re not invincible on the roads.”

In addition to a concession stand and other goodies, the main dodgeball tournament will have 16 teams of about six to 10 players. The games start at about 4:30 p.m.

While Christiansen expects a good turnout at the event due to word of mouth, he’s still urging Beaumont residents to come out and show their support.  “It’s an issue that affects everyone, so by coming out you’re showing that you care about other people.”

Source: The Beaumont News


Last updated on: 2014-05-11 | Link to this post