Tuesday December 6, 2011


On The Road

Driving Impaired Isn't An Option

Drugs and alcohol still rampant behind the wheel

Released by BCAA RSF


ith the number of deaths and serious injuries caused by impaired drivers down by almost half in the past year, why is it still important to remind people not to drive while impaired?

Allan Lamb, President and COO of the BCAA Road Safety Foundation says it is because a significant number of drivers still get behind the wheel of a vehicle after they've become impaired by alcohol or drugs.

"There is an increase in social events at this time of year and a large number of those driving impaired are coming from the company of friends, colleagues and family," stated Lamb. "It is simply not an option to drive impaired or to allow someone you know may be impaired to leave your company and get behind the wheel of a car."

In 2009, the BCAA Road Safety Foundation helped establish Alexa's Team in memory of Alexa Middelaer who was killed by an impaired driver in May of 2008. Over the past three years the team has grown to over 400 RCMP and municipal police officers from all regions of the province.

In November, Premier Christy Clark announced that alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths had been reduced by 40 per cent during the one-year period under Canada's toughest penalties for impaired driving.

Premier Clark also announced a commitment to help fund another tool for police, a mobile road safety bus that will focus on impaired driving education and enforcement.

The BCAA Road Safety Foundation and the Middelaer family are encouraged by these two announcements and are pleased that British Columbians are working to save the lives of their friends, neighbours, co-workers and family members.

Referring to the recent court ruling on the immediate roadside prohibition ruling, Lamb reminds drivers that police are enforcing impaired driving laws and any driver that blows over .08 will still face the possibility of charges under the Criminal Code.

Here are a few tips from the BCAA Road Safety Foundation to keep you, your friends and family members safe on the roads this holiday season:

Plan Your Night Out - Leave the car at home and take public transit, taxis or arrange for a designated driver service. You can even call a tow truck to take you and your car home. If the party is at a friend's house, plan to spend the night and drive home the next day after the effects of the alcohol have worn off.

Be a designated driver - Take turns being the designated driver - when it's your turn, stick to beverages without alcohol.

Be a Good Host - Make sure your friends live to remember the good cheer. Have a variety of alcohol-fee beverages like pop, juice, coffee, tea or even trendy "mocktails" on hand. Make sure some of the guests have agreed to be designated drivers and will not consume any alcohol. If you are concerned that any of your guests are impaired, call a taxi or offer the spare bed or the couch. A disagreement over safety with a friend is better than risking the alternative.

Role Modelling - Parents, remember your kids watch and learn from you. It's important that you demonstrate safe and healthy driving behaviours at all times. Don't drive impaired

Call Home Anytime - Young people like Christmas parties, too. Often they don't want to admit that they or their friends drink or use drugs if it means their parents will be angry. To them it's worth the risk to drive or ride with a driver who is impaired. A "family contract" agrees that the kids can call home at any hour for a safe ride home.

Drug Impairment - Be aware of anyone who is impaired by something other than alcohol, whether it's medications or illegal drugs such as marijuana. Mixing alcohol and drugs can be lethal for all road users.

About BCAA Road Safety Foundation
The BCAA Road Safety Foundation is a non-profit registered charity working with families, communities and business partners to reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes and injuries in B.C. For more information visit www.BCAARoadSafety.com or call 604-298-5107.