(Press Release) Oakville, Ontario, May 29, 2012- With proms and graduation parties dominating the social calendars of students over the next few weeks, the anti-impaired driving message is more important than ever. MADD Canada and sponsor Gino’s Pizza visited Monsignor Percy Johnson Catholic High School today to urge students to stay safe and drive sober.

Gino’s Pizza representatives started the day on a fun note with t-shirt and soccer ball giveaways. The event then got more serious as students were introduced to Jesse and followed his fictional story, from his terrible decision to drive impaired through the resulting horrific crash and into the criminal justice system where he faces the consequences of his actions. Jesse’s bright future and plans for university are replaced with the possibility of a prison term and a criminal record.

“Damages shows young people how quickly a fun night of celebrating can turn to tragedy if someone gets behind the wheel impaired,” said Carolyn Swinson, Past Chair on MADD Canada’s National Board of Directors and a member and volunteer of the MADD Toronto Chapter. “It’s a message we truly hope they take to heart and remember when they are out celebrating their grads and proms this season.”

Thanks to the generous sponsorship of numerous companies such as Gino’s Pizza, Damages and the French show, Dommages, will be seen by more than one million students across Canada this school year.

“Gino’s Pizza is pleased to work with MADD Canada in this effort to reach students and get them thinking about what they can do to protect themselves and their friends from impaired driving,” said Sonia Gangar, Director of Marketing for Gino’s Pizza.

Young people, more than any other age group, are over-represented in alcohol-related crashes:

  • In 2008, young people between the ages of 16 and 25 made up 13.7 per cent of the population, yet accounted for almost 33 per cent of alcohol-related crash deaths.
  • Young people have high rates of driving after drinking and of being a passenger of a driver who has been drinking or taking drugs.

Educating youth about the very serious consequences of impaired driving is critical to MADD Canada’s mission to stop impaired driving. The School Assembly Program has been a cornerstone of MADD Canada’s youth services since 1994.

“As much as we hope students celebrate their accomplishments and have great end-of-year celebrations, we want to them be safe,” Ms. Swinson said. “We do not want to hear the tragic news that an impaired crash has killed or injured another young person.”

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