November 2010

Change the Conversation to reduce impaired driving

A new national education program to reduce impaired driving, Change the Conversation, has been launched by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation; Arrive Alive, Drive Sober; and the Student Life Education Company. The program is a complete, research-based resource designed to help communities across Canada increase their understanding of the problem, how it has changed in the past 20 years, and how it can be addressed, according to a Nov. 17, 2010, release announcing the program’s launch. Change the Conversation is a joint venture involving three recognized charities - the Traffic Injury Research Foundation; Arrive Alive, Drive Sober; and the Student Life Education Company. Funding for this initiative was provided by the Brewers Association of Canada. Its goals are to disseminate facts about impaired driving with the public and interested professionals, and to create a positive forum for individuals to share their reasons for choosing not to drink and drive and what they are doing to prevent it. Armed with contemporary research, the program is a response to the sometimes outdated, misquoted and fragmented information that is provided to the public. More importantly, the program shares practical strategies that the public and youth can rely on to promote behaviour change and prevent drunk driving in their own communities, the release says. Notes TIRF President and CEO, Robyn Robertson, “Recent research shows that shame and negative message strategies can be ineffective and in some cases they can actually increase the unwanted behaviour.

This program was designed to focus on the positive. It emphasizes that the majority doesn’t drive after drinking and encourages constructive and informed discussion about the issue. “ The program’s website, www.changetheconversation.ca, is structured in a question/answer format as a tool that communities, educators, parents and youth can rely upon to learn about the problem and what they can do to prevent it. The program also includes five PSAs that have been distributed to radio stations across Canada to run from now until April 1st, 2011. Each PSA touches on a little known fact about impaired driving, for example, almost one in five killed by drunk drivers are passengers.

A series of posters reflecting the PSAs‚ messages are available through the program’s website.

Updated November 18, 2010