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Press Release

MADD Canada, MPI Launch "Long Weekend" School Assembly Program to Educate Manitoba Students About the Dangers of Impaired Driving

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwired - May 3, 2013) - MADD Canada's newest School Assembly Program is giving Manitoba students a realistic and vivid look at how good times with friends can turn tragic in mere seconds when one person makes the decision to drive impaired.

This year's show, titled Long Weekend, challenges students to examine their beliefs and choices around mixing alcohol and/or drugs with driving, and helps them understand the consequences when people make the wrong choices. Andrew Swan, Manitoba Minister of Justice and Attorney General and Minister responsible for Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) joined MADD Canada and students at Grant Park Collegiate today for a special screening of Long Weekend to highlight the program's provincial tour. As the provincial sponsor for the show, MPI is presenting 85 Long Weekend (and its French counterpart, Dommages) presentations at schools throughout the province.

"Impaired driving continues to be a serious problem in our communities, in our province and in our country," said Minister Swan. "We welcome this opportunity to reach out to young people around the province to educate them about the dangers of impaired driving and ensure they make the commitment to always drive sober. This presentation provides them with the information and motivation to develop safe and sober driving habits that they can carry into adulthood."

Long Weekend follows Brian, his brother Malcolm, girlfriend Jessica and best friend Raj on a trip to the cottage. The friends are drinking, smoking pot and making increasingly risky decisions. The weekend takes a horrific turn when an impaired Brian drives into town with Jessica. The fictional story is then followed by the real-life stories of four people who were killed in impaired driving crashes.

"Our goal, with Long Weekend, is to reach students with the message that impaired driving is never worth the risk," said MADD Canada National President Denise Dubyk. "The program shows students how that one single decision can change their lives forever. We want to provide them with the information and motivation to develop safe and sober driving habits. We don't want to lose any more young people to impaired driving crashes."

Impaired driving takes a huge toll on Canadian youth:

  • Nearly 50 per cent of all road crash deaths involving 15 to 24 year olds are alcohol-related.

  • In 2009, approximately 350 young people were killed and 41,000 were injured in impairment-related crashes.

  • Also in 2009, 16-25 year olds constituted just 13.7 per cent of the population, but accounted for nearly 31.1 per cent of all alcohol-related crash deaths.

"As a road safety leader in the province, Manitoba Public Insurance is committed to reducing fatalities and injuries on Manitoba roadways. The devastation of impaired driving is far reaching and long lasting," said MaryAnn Kempe, Vice-President, Community and Corporate Relations, Manitoba Public Insurance. "We welcome this partnership with MADD Canada to bring this live-saving message to young people in Manitoba. It's about making responsible decisions and having a better understanding of the risks and consequences of impaired driving."

The School Assembly Program has been a cornerstone of MADD Canada's youth services since 1994. More than one million students will see Long Weekend, and the French language program called Dommages, across Canada during the 2012-2013 school year.

For more information about Long Weekend, please contact:
MADD Canada
Denise Dubyk
National President
403 970-8733

Manitoba Public Insurance
Media Relations
(204) 985-7300 or toll-free 1-888-554-9549
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