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MADD Canada Supports North American Safe Boating Awareness Week

OAKVILLE, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 05/14/14 -- MADD Canada is gearing up for its Campaign 911 summer awareness program with a focus on the dangers of impaired boating.

MADD Canada is proud to participate in events hosted by the Canadian Safe Boating Council (CBSC) in Halifax and Toronto on May 15 and in Vancouver on May 17 to promote North American Safe Boating Awareness Week which runs from May 17 - 23. CSBC's events will focus on impaired boating, as well as the importance of life jackets, boating safety courses, proper personal and vessel preparation and the dangers of cold water immersion. (For more information on the events, please visit: www.csbc.ca)

"People often don't stop to think about the dangers of alcohol consumption on the water or the danger of operating a boat while impaired," said MADD Canada Chief Executive Officer Andrew Murie. "But alcohol diminishes judgement, reduces motor skills, slows reaction times and accelerates hypothermia. Alcohol is a factor in about 40% of the estimated 150 recreational boating fatalities that occur in Canada each year."

MADD Canada is partnering with the CSBC and the Lifesaving Society to promote the "Call 911" concept among the boating community. With a financial contribution from Transport Canada to CSBC, creative provided by Saatchi & Saatchi Canada and advertising space provided by Pattison Outdoor Advertising, a poster promoting the importance of reporting impaired boaters is being launched. The LCBO have also extended the partnership by agreeing to display the posters in their stores within the province of Ontario. Similar agencies in other provinces have also expressed interest in doing the same in their outlets. View the poster here: http://www.csbc.ca/images/Catch_Impared_Boaters_Large.jpg

MADD Canada's Campaign 911 program reminds Canadians about the dangers of operating any motor vehicle while impaired, and encourages people to report suspected impaired drivers and impaired boaters to police. The program runs all year round but MADD Canada promotes it heavily throughout the spring and summer months as road trips, cottage getaways and vacations have more people on the roads. Allstate Insurance Company of Canada and Maritime Ontario Freight Lines return as Official Sponsors of the 2014 Campaign 911 program. Both corporations are long-time supporters of MADD Canada.

"Impaired driving continues to kill between 1,250 and 1,500 people every year in Canada, and injures another 63,000," Mr. Murie said. "We need to do all we can to promote the sober driving message and take impaired drivers off the roads and off the water. That's why all efforts to educate and raise awareness are important."

Effective Campaign 911 programs have been shown to significantly increase emergency calls to police to report suspected impaired drivers, as well as the number of Criminal Code impaired driving charges and administrative licence suspensions. In 2013, MADD Canada undertook a study to assess the impact of Call 911 programs. A direct link between the programs and any reductions in impaired driving deaths and injuries proved difficult to pinpoint due to significant variations in data collection and analysis among the local programs, however the authors did note that the programs showed great promise in deterring impaired drivers. The study also noted the importance of follow-up with those drivers who had been reported but were not intercepted by police. The full study, titled Call 911 Programs for Reporting Suspected Impaired Driving: A Preliminary Investigation in Four Canadian Communities, is available on the MADD Canada web site here: http://madd.ca/media/docs/Call_911_Programs_Report_March2014.pdf.

"Going forward, we will be promoting the importance of consistent data collection and reporting, with an eye to better assessing the impact of these programs on impaired driving crash reductions," said Mr. Murie. "We have no doubt that Call 911 programs save lives and prevent injuries because they enable police, with the public's help, to take impaired drivers off the roads before crashes occur."

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