Friday, April 15, 2016
On the Road
Alexa's Team Makes it Safer
As long as there's impaired drivers, there'll be a team
Lennae Durant, BCAA
2015 Alexa’s Team members from the Lower Mainland honoured at the Justice Institute of B.C. in New Westminster on April 13th for their work to reduce alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths in B.C.
ADD Canada, ICBC, the RCMP and supporters of Alexa’s Team are gathering again to recognize 246 officers from around the province being named to the 2015 Alexa’s Team, and to support this outstanding community road safety initiative.
Alexa’s Team is a program that recognizes the dedicated RCMP and Municipal police officers in B.C. who make an extraordinary contribution to reducing the number of drivers affected by alcohol or drugs on B.C.’s roads and highways. The team is named for Alexa Middelaer who was killed by an alcohol impaired driver in 2008.
“During my time as a police officer in northern B.C., I saw the devastation that alcohol-affected drivers can cause. Driving while affected by alcohol or drugs is dangerous and illegal, yet people still choose to do it. The 246 dedicated officers being recognized today as part of Alexa’s Team do extraordinary work to raise awareness and help make our roads safer," said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Morris. "We’ve seen a 52% reduction in alcohol-affected driving fatalities in B.C. since 2010. And while that is significant, our ultimate goal is to bring the number of alcohol-affected driving fatalities down to zero. It’s about saving lives, and we need everyone -- most importantly B.C. drivers – to make that happen.”
Recognition events are held in Metro Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna and Prince George. Officers are personally thanked by Alexa’s family, road safety organizations and community leaders for their tireless work fighting impaired driving. Special recognition is given to the officer in each region who has removed the most impaired drivers from the roads of their community in 2015.
“Impaired driving is a significant concern to police officers across the province, and I applaud those members of Alexa’s Team who have made our safety a priority. Their commitment to identify and remove impaired drivers from our roads is remarkable, and makes our communities safer for all,” said RCMP Supt. Derek Cooke, Officer in Charge "E" Division Traffic Services.
The awards ceremonies also provide an opportunity to recognize the significant decrease in BC’s rate of alcohol-related crash deaths since the introduction of the province’s Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) program in 2010. The average reduction from October 2010 to the end of September 2014 was 52%, representing an estimated 238 lives saved. (Source: RoadSafetyBC Preliminary Report on Alcohol Related Motor Vehicle (MV) Fatalities 2015 – Most Recent Data Available)
Alexa’s Bus, the province’s mobile road safety unit (MRSU) launched in 2014, is another tool to help police fight impaired driving. Used for enforcement and to educate the public about road safety and the dangers of impaired driving, the bus was deployed 155 times in 2015 to communities around B.C.
“We applaud every police officer on Alexa’s Team for their commitment to getting impaired drivers off our roads. Making our roads safer for everyone is a priority at ICBC and we can all do our part – plan ahead if your activities involve alcohol and arrange for a designated driver, call a taxi or take transit,” said ICBC’s Director Responsible for Road Safety, Lindsay Matthews.
Further assisting in the efforts to take impaired drivers off BC roads, many municipalities and police services have partnered with MADD Canada and other partners to establish RID 911 programs in local communities. The RID 911 program encourages the public to call 911 to report suspected impaired drivers and has been helpful in removing drivers affected by alcohol from the roads.
“As a family, it is our privilege to recognize the members of Alexa's Team whom have gone above and beyond to ensure the safety of our communities. It is good and right to acknowledge and thank those who individually and collectively make an enormous difference, each and every day. In the wake of the tragic loss of our daughter, Alexa, this is one event that allows our family to find some needed good. These members are heroes and deserve our appreciation; we look forward to celebrating with them at the four events in our province this spring," said Laurel Middelaer, Alexa’s Mother and Road Safety Advocate.
Even with Alexa’s Team, enforcement resources and public education, there are individuals in this province who continue to put other’s lives at risk by driving while impaired. As long as there are impaired drivers, there will be Alexa’s Team.
All-Star team members are the top impaired driving investigators in the province. Each has taken at least 34 criminally impaired drivers off the road in 2015.
• Alexa’s Team members have processed more than 71,300 impaired driving sanctions for alcohol and drug related driving offences.
• The total number of Alexa’s Team members has grown from 26 to 1,885, and includes officers from all regions of the province.
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