It’s been seven years since Claudia Di Iorio almost lost her life in a high-speed collision.

Later this month, she’ll be honoured by the Quebec Community Groups Network for her leadership in road safety education and the work she’s done to enact change in Montreal. 

Di Iorio was only sixteen when the high-speed crash occurred. She and two friends were passengers in the car of an 18-year-old driver. He sped through streets in Town of Mount Royal, burning red lights and slamming into a tree at 140 km/hour. 

All three passengers were injured in the collision. 

Di Iorio was in a coma for a month, suffered permanent brain damage and spent years recovering from a shattered pelvis and injury to her spinal cord. 

The driver was initially charged with racing and impaired driving. In the end he served a three-year prison sentence for dangerous driving causing bodily harm after reaching a plea deal. 

In the years since, Di Iorio went through a long process of rehabilitation and eventually she learned to walk again. 

Determined to educate others not to make the same mistake she did, she has spent years speaking with teenagers and even shared her story in the documentary ‘Derapage’. 

She’s also served as spokesperson for the Cool Taxi initiative since 2012- coupons for cash-free cab rides that are distributed in downtown bars. 

Di Iorio also sits on the board of directors for the SAAQ and is the youngest board member for a crown corporation in Quebec history. 

She’s been chosen for the QCGN’s third annual Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award to recognize and celebrate outstanding achievements of English-speaking Quebecers under 30.