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Drinking and driving is no accident

Students in Grade 9 got see witness the deadly consequences of drinking and driving as part of a provincial-wide program called Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth (PARTY), May 12. P. Clarke photo.

Students in Grade 9 got see witness the deadly consequences of drinking and driving as part of a provincial-wide program called Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth (PARTY), May 12. P. Clarke photo.

One bad decision can change the rest of your life.

That was the message driven home to students in Grade 9 during a mock drinking and driving collision that was staged in front of the Emergency Services Building, May 12.

With sirens blaring, police, paramedics and firefighters rushed to the scene to find a badly damaged mini-van with three bloodied actors inside.

The driver, who faired best, was immediately arrested and put in the back of a waiting police cruiser, while paramedics raced to stabilized the front passenger. In the backseat a young woman sat motionless, killed on impact.

The sobering scene was a reminder of the deadly consequences of drinking and driving and part of a provincial-wide program called Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth (PARTY).

“It’s a huge responsibility to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle,” said RCMP Sgt. Rick Bidaisee.

“The end result of poor decision-making is horrendous and can be catastrophic. People often die, get maimed for life.”

RCMP pretended to arrest the driver at the mock drinking and driving collision. P. Clarke photo.

RCMP pretended to arrest the driver at the mock drinking and driving collision. P. Clarke photo.

After the staged collision, students headed over to the hospital’s emergency room where nurses and paramedics raced to save the severely injured patient.

The scene was one of organized chaos as nurses checked the patient’s vital signs to try and stabilize her.

Within minutes things went from bad to worse. As the young woman’s heart rate began to drop, nurses desperately tried to save her, but recognizing that it was already too late they called for her mother to come into the room to witness her daughter’s final moments – a moment that was almost too real to watch.

From there, students were led to the morgue before heading over to the victims services room, where Paul Schmidt, Jasper’s victims services coordinator, shared his experience talking with grieving families.

“We’re in a small community, there’s absolutely no need to be driving after drinking,” said Schmidt. “If you’re going to have alcohol, take a cab or don’t take your vehicle in the first place.”

Firefighters lifted extracted one of the passengers from the car who was pronounced dead on the scene. P. Clarke.

Firefighters lifted extracted one of the passengers from the car who was pronounced dead on the scene. P. Clarke.

Following the hospital visit students returned to the Emergency Services Building to hear first-hand from police and paramedics about how drinking and driving collisions affected them on both a professional and personal level.

Students also watched several videos about the consequences of drinking and driving.

“I think after seeing this I’m going to be more cautious by making sure I don’t drive if I drink or if I have any friends that are going to drink I’m going to take care of them make sure they don’t go driving,” said Arianne St-Jacques, a Grade 9 student.

Peers at her table agreed.

“It’s scary to imagine that could happen to you or your family members,” said Ainsley Koebel. “I can’t drive yet, but I will never get in a car with somebody that is intoxicated.”

Impaired driving continues to be the leading cause of collisions in Canada with alcohol being a factor in more than 55 per cent of the collisions.

If you suspect a driver is impaired call 911.

Paul Clarke
editor@fitzhugh.ca

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