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Amanda Oling: The Impact of One Decision

Introduced by Grade 12 student Hailey Whalen, Amanda Oling presented her powerful presentation on the consequences of impaired driving to the students of OJSH on Monday, April 8th. Amanda’s powerful presentation focused on the risks and consequences associated with impaired driving and making just one wrong decision in life.

Amanda Oling was born and raised in Alberta. As an adult, she became involved in law enforcement: she was a Fish & Wildlife Officer and a Special Constable and Community Peace Officer in various parts of Alberta.  She is an acclaimed speaker on impaired driving and its consequences. Using her very personal experience of losing her father to an impaired driver in a stolen vehicle, Amanda explained how life is a sequence of decisions. Some of those decisions could have far-reaching consequences that impact not only your life but the lives of many others.

Using a slide show, Amanda took her audience through the sequence of events that eventually claimed her father’s life and the aftermath. She talked of her reactions and emotions and the lasting effects of the loss of her father on her family. Interspersed throughout her story, she presented startling statistics: every day, on average, four Canadians are killed and 175 are injured in impairment-related (alcohol and drugs) crashes. Annually, it is estimated between 1,250 and 1,500 people are killed and more than 63,000 are injured each year in Canada in impairment-related crashes. These stark statistics do not include the pain and suffering of the families that are left to cope with their loved one’s loss or injuries. Amanda also highlighted the huge costs involved in these needless, preventable accidents. For the impaired driver, the costs could reach over $40,000.00.

Amanda called on Grade 12 students Olivia Robb and Santina Bassanese to demonstrate the effects of various levels of blood alcohol by wearing impairment googles. They had to pretend to be cars passing each other on a highway and then had to attempt to walk a straight line. Grade 10 student Kaedy Corke was timed as she used a computer to make her way through a maze on the screen while wearing googles that mimicked the effect of marijuana use. All the demonstrations showed how impaired driving whether due to alcohol or drug use negatively affects the brain, eyesight, balance, and judgement – all factors that  can lead to serious consequences.

After the presentation, Amanda made herself available to any of the students who had questions or who wished to talk to her.


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