Manitoba Public Insurance’s Friends for Life series set to reach nearly 6,500 students on road safety topics across the province

For the 11th consecutive year, today Manitoba Public Insurance is kicking off its’ popular Friends for Life speaker series in high schools throughout the province, which features dynamic and impactful first-person accounts of how high-risk driving decisions behind the wheel can lead to life-altering injuries and realities for years to come.

Running from Nov. 14-25, this year’s program is estimated to reach approximately 6,500 students in Grades 10-12 and will return to in-person programming after two years of virtual presentations.

“MPI couldn’t be more proud of the impact that this important community outreach program has in creating safer roads for all Manitobans,” said Satvir Jatana, Vice President & Chief Customer Officer, MPI. “Over more than a decade, we have consistently heard positive feedback on the series from both from students and educators alike and look forward to continuing to help encourage safe driving behaviours from the province’s newest drivers this year.”

In partnership with Teens Against Destructive Decisions (TADD) and the Manitoba School Boards Association, this annual MPI initiative features three road safety speakers from across Western Canada in 38 high schools throughout the province, including Thompson, Flin Flon and The Pas.

Teen drivers more likely to choose high-risk driving behaviours

MPI data shows that in 2021 high-risk driving behaviours continued to lead to injuries, collisions and the tragic loss of life – distracted driving was a contributing factor in 53 per cent of fatalities and 44 per cent of serious injuries; additionally, impaired driving led to the death of 24 Manitobans while speed was contributing factor in 16 fatalities.

Understanding these behaviours and effects continue to be prevalent, Friends for Life is a direct opportunity to reach drivers that data shows are more likely to be involved in a collision on the cusp of developing their habits behind the wheel.

“Our research shows that young drivers are more likely to choose high-risk driving behaviours – those under the age of 25 are 2.2 times more likely to be involved in a distracted driving collision and teen drivers are 4.4 times more likely to speed than drivers aged 45 and older. These statistics are key reasons that MPI believes in the Friends for Life program and the road safety education it provides,” said Jatana.

About the 2022 Friends for Life speakers:

Ted Swan: With over 34 years of experience as an award-winning paramedic, Ted has seen many tragedies and the devastating effects of crashes. His vivid descriptions of the science involved in a crash for both the vehicle and the passenger as well as his personal experience of calls he has attended help drive home the potential impact of one individual decision having life-changing effects.

Sandra LaRose: Sandra connects with students by speaking about the heartbreaking loss of her 16-year-old daughter, Kailynn, after her vehicle was hit by a train while she was distracted by her phone. As the founder and president of Sharing Kailynn’s Sunshine Foundation Inc., a non-profit organization designed to share Kailynn’s compassion and giving nature with the people, Sandra helps youth understand how looking away from the road for one split-second can change everything.

John Westhaver: A fatal crash changed John’s life forever. Several of his best friends were killed and John suffered severe burns to 75 per cent of his body. John uses living through the aftermath of the accident to talk to young people about dangerous driving behaviours in the hope that his experience could prevent other fatal crashes from happening.


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