First responders place a young woman in a body bag.

Students see outcome of impaired driving

First responders, including the RCMP, and students participate in a mock accident with fatalities in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, N.L. Credit: Robert Richards, MADD Labrador

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Local high school students in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, N.L., witnessed the consequences of drinking and driving at the scene of a mock disaster.

Just outside Mealy Mountain Collegiate, students watched as the RCMP, fire department and paramedics arrived at a scene of twisted metal, lifeless bodies and victims trapped in the wreckage of a car after it collided with a snowmobile. The scenario took place last spring, right before graduation.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Labrador chapter, which organized the event, wanted the realistic scene to act as an eye-opener for students on the devastation caused by drinking and driving.

"Students can read about accidents caused by drunk driving in the media, but when they see it, when it looks real, it drives the message home," says RCMP Cpl. Christine Soucy, a community police officer from the Happy Valley-Goose Bay detachment, who helped plan the event.

To begin, students assembled in the gym and listened to the 911 call before heading outside to where the scenario was brought to life.

Soucy says she was impressed by how real it looked. The victims were played by students and had realistic injuries created with special effects makeup. The fire department used the Jaws of Life to free two girls trapped in the back of the car.

The students watched as one classmate, bleeding from the head and yelling, was arrested for impaired driving causing death.

"They got to see front and centre what it looks like to be handcuffed and driven away," says Soucy.

Angela Wareham, the vice president of MADD Labrador chapter, says that the court docket in Happy Valley-Goose Bay shows that drinking and driving is a problem.

"And it's not just in Goose Bay. There are four people killed across Canada every day by somebody making the decision to drive impaired," says Wareham. "We might not stop kids from drinking or doing drugs, but by making this very impactful statement, we might be able to stop them from getting behind the wheel after having a drink."

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