Tue. May 28th, 2024

Students met in Regina on Saturday for a conference where the focus was on the dangers of distracted and impaired driving.

Students Against Drinking and Driving held its 36th annual conference, and Saskatchewan president Christine Kwon said the message is simple: alcohol and driving should never be combined.

“When you get behind that wheel, you have a weapon on you and you can do anything, especially if you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” Kwon said.

Kwon said the key to safety is to educate students early.

“The students at this conference are the next generation to be that voice and they are the main influence that could be impacted,” Kwon said.

“A lot of students here may not have their licence, but they can still be that voice to say ‘no’ to people when they are getting behind that wheel.”

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With the holidays drawing close and lots of celebrations to go with them, sending out the message on the dangers of distracted and impaired driving becomes necessary.

According to Saskatchewan Government Insurance, impaired drivers are involved in four out of every 10 collisions resulting in fatalities.

Mason Lechner, 14, said learning about someone who became disabled as a result of a distracted driving accident changed his perspective.

“They asked us to think about who we loved and what we loved, imagine that some of that would go away, and it would be a lot harder to achieve our dreams,” Lechner said.

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“I think it will have a big impact because I’ve learned about all the consequences, and I’ll be able to stop anything from happening within my friend’s group or with other people that I see.”

In September alone, SGI said there were more than 350 impaired driving charges. People aged 25 to 34 are considered to be at the highest risk for alcohol-related collisions.

Cash Fabel, who is 15 years old, plans to become an engineer when he grows up. He said the conference has taught him to be the voice of reason.

“I’ve never found drugs or drinking appealing before and this has just helped my idea of staying clear of them and especially if I do them, to stay clear of vehicles,” Fabel said.

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