One bad decision… a life forever changed
Media release: May 1, 2019 by SGI
Impaired driving the focus of May’s Traffic Safety SpotlightImagine climbing into a vehicle after a night of partying with your friends. You drift off to sleep. Later, you wake up, on your stomach in a ditch, and you can’t feel your legs.
In May 2010, that happened to Nolan Barnes. After a night of drinking and drug use in Saskatoon, Nolan was a passenger in an SUV driven by an impaired driver. While en route back to Yorkton, the vehicle crashed, killing Nolan’s friend and injuring eight passengers.
Nolan’s injuries were the most severe. His back was shattered and his collarbone was broken.
Following the crash, Nolan endured surgery, two weeks in an induced coma, two months in hospital, followed by many more months of rehab. He had to learn how to navigate life in a wheelchair.
“When we talk about impaired driving, the focus is often on the people who are killed; but impaired driving also injures – often very seriously – hundreds of people in Saskatchewan every year,” said Minister Responsible for SGI Joe Hargrave. “For the people who are injured – and their families – the impacts are devastating and long-lasting. Sometimes, they’re forever.”
In the hopes of convincing others to make better choices than he did, Nolan regularly shares his story at schools, corporate events and SADD conferences. He speaks to people with brutal honesty, sparing no detail about living as a paraplegic, and the impact his choices made on him and the people who care about him.
“I used to think I was invincible. Then I found out that I wasn’t,” Nolan said. “Hopefully, hearing what I have to say will keep someone else from making the same mistake.”
You can hear more of Nolan’s story in a series of videos on SGI’s YouTube channel. And if you’re interested in having him speak to your organization or school, contact him directly via email or through his Instagram.
This month, SGI and law enforcement are focusing on impaired driving for the May Traffic Safety Spotlight.
Nearly 6,600 people have been injured in impaired driving collisions over the last 10 years in Saskatchewan. While the number of injuries has continually trended downward over the past decade, there were still 368 people injured from impaired driving collisions on Saskatchewan roads in 2017.
When it comes to something as preventable as impaired driving, one person hurt is one too many. Always #DriveSober. If your plans involve alcohol or drugs, #PlanASafeRide.