Red Deer students learn dangers of impaired driving

MADD Red Deer Chapter and three local schools in the city have teamed up to educate students about the dangers of impaired driving.

On Wednesday, the first of three presentations took place at Glendale Sciences and Technology School.

Students were shown video presentations with various impaired driving stories – that ended in tragedies.

Marilyn Rinas, MADD Red Deer Chapter president, said the visual presentations, geared for grades 7 and up, help students understand the severity of what could happen when alcohol and drugs are mixed with driving.

The presentations are part of The Pact, MADD Canada’s 2017-2018 School Assembly program, which shows students the risks and consequences while drunk or high. One of the video stories showcased Maia Vezine and her mother, Pat, who were hit head-on by an impaired driver on the road. Vezine broke both femurs, ankles and arms, her left knee, pelvis, right wrist, left clavicle, a rib and left cheekbone.

Rinas said impaired driving risks will be higher come July 1 when marijuana becomes legal in Canada.

Rinas said teenagers often face peer pressure from wanting to fit in to being popular. She said the pressures intensify when kids switch from middle to high school.

Myla Saskowski, Grade 8 student at Glendale, agreed.

“Kids already get peer pressured from a lot, and I think impaired driving is definitely one of them,” said the 13-year-old.

Saskowski said she found the presentations helpful and said spreading awareness about it is a good idea.

Rinas encourages parents to educate their children at home by taking the time to talk to them about the dangers of impaired driving, or offering them a safe way home.

“Sometimes it’s not considered cool to offer a ride to your child, but, in the end, it can save a life,” said Rinas.

Upcoming presentations will be held at St. Francis of Assisi Middle School Jan. 31, and Westpark Middle School Feb. 2.

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