16 avril 2012

TLMEP Interview with Paul Arcand and Claudia Di Orio, April 15

Written by Dominic Major; edited by Sylvie.

No-nonsense radio talkshow host Paul Arcand (the incomparable!) is here to promote his new documentary on reckless driving, called Dérapages (Loss of Control). Guy A. thinks should be mandatory viewing for all young aspiring drivers.

His third documentary, we start the interview with clips from the movie (to be released April 27, 2012).

After the short clip, the silence present on the panel and in the audience says a lot about the impact this film has. Claudia is here to help promote both the movie and CoolTaxi (more on that later). If her name sounds familiar, her father, Nicola Di Orio was on TLMEP on October 17, 2010, on the same topic. Claudia was in a traffic collision last year where she broke her hip, broke her nose, was left paralysed on her left side and was in a coma for about a month as a result. When her father asked her to speak with M. Arcand as part of the documentary film, she accepted. The short recap of her "accident": when she woke from her coma (no hair, wearing a diaper), her dad said: "you left the bar, Laurent ran at 120km/h, he hit a tree."
M. Arcand's film is centred around youth who "party" and then get behind the wheel. Also about kids with more guts than sense in their modified cars.

M. Arcand talks about the process and the method behind the film - he wanted to let the kids speak for themselves so he simply followed them from bar to bar, last-call to last-call and let them be... in front of his camera.

Yet another gruesome story in the film is the one of Brendan, then 18 years old, who drove down residential streets at 70km/h, lost control, hit the curb, bounced into the yard and whooshed two-year-old Bianca away from the side of her baby-sitter. The horrific part of this is that it happened in 2007 and in the process of heading to court (initially to be tried as an adult, then appealed to be tried as a juvenile) Nadine, Bianca's mom, had to continuously relive the stress and pain by having to go back and forth to court all these year.

Asked if he's angry, M. Arcand responds: "Yes, it's crazy! You made your choice, you did what you did. You lost control, you hit and killed a child on her lawn! You must live with the consequence." (I paraphrases a bit here).

M. Arcand is not the only one with lingering anger - Claudia is still angry with the driver in her collision as well.

(There are more stories shared and they are all in the film. I was certainly shook up and simply listening; I can't imagine how I'll feel after seeing the movie.)

Paul spends some time talking in general about the issues raised from his filming:

  • In 1997 driving mandatory driving lessons were removed for licensing. They were brought back 2010. Despite that, still today you can get your licence without ever going on the highway.
  • One law under review would have anyone under 21 not allowed to drink and drive: tolerance zero. it's a great idea according Claudia. (me too)

The big question asked of the panel in general: Do parents need to be involved more to help prevent these horrific acts? Yes, they need to be there. I can't solely be up to the state, but the state can help; with a curfew for example. But you still won't have police everywhere.

Parents must define the rapport with the car and the decisions drivers make, day in day out. Even though parents often say: "but my kids are responsible", they aren't thinking about all the friends their kids have and of course, how many drunk teens would call their folks at 3am for a ride? Not many. Luckily, Cool Taxi is here. Claudia's dad started this project with other fathers one year ago and it's been a great success. These are essentially pre-paid taxi chits that kids can use anywhere in Quebec. Guy A. mentions a time where his son took a cab and used Cool Taxi but that the driver did not want to take it - Claudia interrupts with her own story about the same issue where she took the time to tell her story to the cab driver to get him to take the chit. Afterwards, Guy A. explains that all you need to do is take down the cab car number and call the SPVM's taxi hotline and report the driver.

Final thought: Guy A. believes this movie should be mandatory viewing for everyone working towards their driver's licence.

Why this matters

Drinking and driving in Quebec is a major issue. As discussed by Paul in the documentary, it's in the rural areas that it can be most-problematic. Anything we can do to educate and maybe change will help. No one needs to die or live a horrible life following stupidity behind the wheel.

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