HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Sobering Message
Pubdate: Thu, 08 Mar 2018
Source: Journal-Pioneer, The (CN PI)
Copyright: 2018 Journal-Pioneer
Author: Jim Day
Page: A7


P.E.I. students moved by powerful anti-impaired driving

Jordan Gillis knew it was a bad idea to get into the

The person offering to drive him home had been smoking pot - enough to
impair his ability to drive safely.

Jordan could simply have turned down the ride. He did

That drive to his home in Fredericton took five or 10 minutes, the
15-year-old recalls.

And how well did the impaired driver drive?

"I didn't think too good, actually,'' says Jordan.

Yet Jordan got home in one piece.

For that, he feels lucky.

For taking the unnecessary risk, he feels foolish.

After watching a powerful anti-impaired driving presentation by MADD
Canada Wednesday, along with hundreds of fellow students at Bluefield
High School, Jordan feels even luckier for having dodged a mishap or
tragedy by accepting a ride from a stoned driver.

And he feels more foolish now. The bulk - and thrust - of the
presentation was delivered through a screening of a film called "The
Pact". In the film, friends of a female student killed in an impaired
driving crash (the driver was high from smoking marijuana) vow to
build something positive from the tragedy. They make a pact never to
drive impaired.

The film resonated with Jordan.

The message, he says, is clear. "To not drink and drive or do drugs
and drive - do the right thing to try to prevent it,'' he says.

Jordan is looking forward to the "freedom'' of being able to drive
when he turns 16.

He also is making a pact to be a sober driver.

Bailey Anderson, 18, of Cornwall was also moved by the film. He says
"The Pact" does a good job of illustrating just how much devastation
can result from a person getting behind the wheel while impaired.

"You're not expecting it either, and it just happens all of a sudden,
and then someone that you love is gone,'' he says.

"It can just tear people apart.'' Bailey, who drives to school, to
work and to his hockey games, says he has never driven drunk. Nor has
he been a passenger in a vehicle driven by an impaired driver.
Wednesday's presentation only reinforces his belief that he should -
and can - make the sensible and correct decision when it comes to driving.

"I think I will definitely be able to make the good choice,'' he

"I never drive drunk. If someone else is drunk and they want to drive
my car, definitely not.''

Bailey says he would also give a drunk person a ride rather than allow
that person to drive. He thinks students who drive while impaired
foolishly believe they are invincible.

"I feel like they just want to prove that they can do it, but they
can't,'' he says. MADD Canada national president Patricia Hynes-Coates
has been strongly pushing the sober driving message since her son,
Nicholas Terrance Coates, was struck and killed by a drunk driver in

She told Bluefield students the loss of her son was "so senseless'',
and her son is gone because a person made a "selfish choice'' to drive.

She is urging students to be "the agents of changeĀ…and hopefully we
will not have a problem in the future with impaired driving.''

MADD Canada and the P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission are teaming up to
deliver the assembly program in 20 schools across the province.
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