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Sweet Life Road Show educates at Port High

By Melissa Mangelsen, The Tribune

Students at Port Colborne High School were educated on the dangers teenage drivers face. The Sweet life Road Show addressed distracted driving, drunk driving, drugging and driving and drowsy driving. MELISSA MANGELSEN/Tribune Staff

Students at Port Colborne High School were educated on the dangers teenage drivers face. The Sweet life Road Show addressed distracted driving, drunk driving, drugging and driving and drowsy driving. MELISSA MANGELSEN/Tribune Staff

Being a parent of a young driver can be stressful and unsettling. Every weekend in Ontario 173 teenagers are injured or killed on the roads.

The Speak Up Crew at Port Colborne High School, who promote health, wellness and safety, brought the Sweet Life Road Show on Wednesday.

“What we’re doing with this show is taking the top risks that teenage drivers face and teaching them in a fun an interactive way how to be more aware of them,” said president of Teens Learn to Drive Anne Marie Hayes.

The top 10 risks were separated into its own interactive station for students. Some of those risks were drunk driving, drugging and driving, drowsy driving, visibility and distracted driving.

“We wanted to get across the non-traditional messages,” said Hayes. “Teenagers are getting the message to not drink and drive, but even if they make the right choices that night they could still be too intoxicated to drive the following morning.”

While the rate of drinking and driving is declining for teenagers they face other challenges such as inexperience, cell phones and passengers.

“It takes seven years of being on the road to learn good driving skills,” said youth counsellor at Port High Laurie Iannetti.

Drowsy driving is a big risk for teenagers.

“Students have long days and aren’t getting enough sleep during the week. Driving drowsy is very dangerous, so we want to teach students how they know they are drowsy and what to do,” said Hayes.

About 58% of Ontario teenagers learn how to drive from their parents, without taking formal lessons.

“What we’re offering here is a free day of drivers education while delivering a message that they won’t get anywhere else,” said Hayes.

Port High is the only school in Niagara to host the Sweet Life Road Show and Iannetti said they were more than happy to be able to host the event.

Const. Shawn Cuke, Niagara Regional Police, spent the day teaching students about the dangers of using drugs and then attempting to drive.

“There are a lot of people who don’t realize that using cannabis and driving is a criminal offense,” he said. “It’s a very dangerous thing to drug and drive, but it gets even more of a danger when they are mixing cannabis with alcohol.”

Students were also able to get in the cab of an 18-wheeler to see first-hand the large blind spots that truck drivers have.

CAA was the main sponsor for the event along with the Ministry of Transportation.

“They have been instrumental setting up the stations and giving the message to students. Everyone has volunteered their time to make sure the students stay as safe as possible on the roads,” said Hayes.

The name for the Sweet Life Road Show was chosen because Hayes said every teenager deserves to have a sweet life.

“The presentations are eye-opening and informative. I think they will take a lot home with them today,” she said.

melissa.mangelsen@sunmedia.ca 


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