It seems as though Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s anti-drinking and driving message hit home with some teenagers following a video presentation at Columneetza Secondary School last Tuesday.
Pam Herman, MADD board member and youth care worker at the high schools, says she’s hopeful about the video presentation’s impact on students.
“We lose too many young people every year to impaired driving,” Herman says. “We do whatever we can do. We keep trying.”
The video, Shattered, recreates scenarios and shares images and real stories of how driving impaired has irreversibly altered, and, in many cases, shattered lives. This is the fourth year the presentation has been made in the high school for students in grades 8 through 12.
Wolf Peters, a Grade 11 student at GROW, says he wasn’t expecting the presentation to have such an impact on him.
“I’ve known quite a few people who drink and drive,” he says, adding the video convinced him not to get behind the wheel after drinking. Now, he says, he would actively discourage others from driving when they had been drinking.
“It was a life-changing experience. … It’s pretty inspirational really. It affected me emotionally, mentally and physically.”
Grade 10 Skyline student Skyla Fairhurst was already convinced of the negative ramifications of drinking and driving. She’s glad that the video might have encouraged others to change their attitudes; however, she wants to continue to spread the message and so wears the red MADD ribbons on her boots and red bracelet on her wrist.
Montana Smith, a Grade 10 student at Skyline, was one of those students whose mind was changed by the video. She admits she used to travel between parties with drivers who had been drinking because she didn’t care but she “definitely won’t now.”
“I knew it was a dangerous activity but I didn’t listen,” she says.
What changed her mind was seeing the pain drinking and driving can cause.
After seeing the video, Chantelle Schellenberg says she would try to stop someone from drinking and driving or prevent someone from being a passenger in a car with a drinking driver.
The Grade 12 student “didn’t like” drinking and driving prior to seeing the video and says the presentation only confirmed those feelings.
“I thought it was a really good presentation. It’s kind of sad and makes you realize.”
Herman says MADD is also trying to educate students about the dangers of driving while impaired by substances other than alcohol.