The Government of Canada and Parachute urge teenagers to stop texting and driving

OTTAWA, June 2, 2014 /CNW/ - Today The Hon. Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, The Hon. Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport and Mrs. Laureen Harper join Parachute CEO Louise Logan in urging 500 senior students at Nepean High School to stop texting while driving.  The event marked the launch of Parachute's public awareness campaign to Stop the Clock on preventable injuries, including those caused by distracted driving.

Kathryn Field, whose teenage son Josh died five years ago as a result of distracted driving, is sharing her family's tragic story.  Students across Canada are being encouraged to join Parachute's national campaign #PracticeSafeText.

"Injuries relating to distracted driving can be devastating to families, friends and to communities," said Minister Ambrose. "But these injuries and even death can be prevented. I encourage young people and all Canadians to be prudent and be focused when driving so that no other family loses a loved one tragically."

"Parents want to know that their children are safe when they are on the road," said Minister Raitt. "Texting and driving puts us all at risk, and our Government is proud to be working with leading organizations like Parachute, who continue to ensure our young drivers remain focused and safe on our roads."

In Canada, distracted driving contributes to more serious injuries than impaired driving or speeding.   Driver distraction is a factor in between 15% and 19% of fatal collisions involving teen drivers. Canadian teenagers, between the ages of 16 and 19, remain at a higher risk of death per kilometre than all other age groups.

"These statistics send a clear and urgent message," added Parachute's President and CEO Louise Logan. "We need to take action to help make our roads safer for all drivers. Practicing safe texting will help save lives. Education, knowledge and empowerment are key to keeping Canadians safe behind the wheel."

In Canada, preventable injuries kill more youth than all other causes combined and incur an annual economic burden of $20 billion.  Parachute's Stop the Clock will draw attention to the facts around preventable injuries.  Parachute's Stop the Clock campaign features the hash tag #PracticeSafeText which teens can tweet to help positively change Canadian's driving habits.  Parachute has also developed resources materials and videos about distracted driving, which are available at parachutecanada.org.

Parachute is dedicated to preventing injuries and saving lives. A national charity, Parachute officially formed in July 2012, when the former Safe Communities Canada, Safe Kids Canada, SMARTRISK and ThinkFirst Canada joined together to become one leader in injury prevention. Parachute's injury prevention solutions, knowledge mobilization, public policy, and social awareness efforts are designed to help keep Canadians safe. Parachute's vision is an injury-free Canada with Canadians living long lives to the fullest. For information, visit us at parachutecanada.org, follow us on Twitter, and join us on Facebook.

SOURCE Parachute

For further information: George James, Parachute, 647 776-5125 (w), 416 402-3783 (c), gjames@parachutecanada.org