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Students Take A Stand Against Driving Drunk

Students Take A Stand Against Driving Drunk.

For the second year running, record numbers of students are attending the annual national conference for Students Against Driving Drunk (SADD) at Living Springs Conference Centre in Canterbury, 13th-17th July, 2003.

160 high school students from approximately 70 different schools all over New Zealand are giving up a week of their holidays to discuss ways to beat the problem of drink driving in their community.

The conference is an excellent opportunity for students to share ideas and experiences. Drink driving is a serious issue that effects thousands of people every year and SADD recognises the positive and vital role young people play in reducing alcohol related crashes. National SADD Co-ordinator Chloe Johnston says “The power that young people have to make positive changes of behaviour is awesome. While the 15 – 24yr age group is still very much overrepresented in the road toll, the drive sober message is being picked up. The attendance at this conference should be seen as an encouraging step in the right direction. When these students go back to their communities they will be full of ideas and the motivation to spread the word that drinking and driving is not acceptable.”

Highlights at this year’s conference include an address from Tamati Paul, the victim of a drunk driver crash that changed him from elite athlete to someone who had to learn to walk and talk all over again. Tamati Paul’s story features in an ACC produced video called “Shattered Dreams” and he shares with the students how his and his family’s lives have been changed forever because of a drunken driver.

SADD is a national non-profit organisation governed by the Automobile Association Driver Education Foundation. Foundation chief executive Peter Sheppard stresses the importance of the successful peer education work that SADD does. “Young people relate best to messages from their peers. SADD works for students because the Drive Sober message is promoted in a way that appeals to that age group”, he says.

The Minister of Youth Affairs, Hon John Tamihere, will address this year’s national conference, at 3.00pm on the 14th. Celebrity Pio Terei, will address students at the opening function on the 13th at 6.00pm.

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