Friday May 13, 2011

Local News

UN "Decade Of Road Safety Action"

Alexa's team removes 8,386 impaired drivers from BC roads

Submitted by Lennae Durant, BCAA RSF

 

arlier this week the United Nations launched 'Decade of Action on Road Safety', a global campaign to reduce highway deaths and injuries.


Officially launched on 11 May 2011, the Decade of Action on Road Safety has the official goal of stabilising and then reducing global road traffic fatalities by 2020. Major economies of the G20, as well as leading developing countries and public institutions like the World Bank and the World Health Organization, have all endorsed the Decade of Action.

The United Nations 'Decade of Action on Road Safety' website states that, global road death and injury is a major public health issue with a broad range of social and economic consequences which, if unaddressed, may affect the sustainable development of countries and hinder progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.

"In this province, impaired driving remains the most significant road safety problem," says Allan Lamb, executive director of the BCAA Road Safety Foundation. Impaired drivers kill, on average, 2 people and injure about 60 more every week in our province. A Transport Canada study indicates that every year British Columbians pay out approximately $1.6 billion in societal costs associated with impaired driving crashes.

"These statistics haven't changed much over the years, and that is very disturbing," adds Lamb. "The Decade of Action on Road Safety and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators Road Safety Vision 2010, are positive initiatives. In B.C. we need to do our part."

The Foundation has worked with individuals, families, communities and business partners throughout the province and demonstrated leadership in developing effective community oriented initiatives and educational campaigns that have made a difference in child passenger, young driver, mature driver, pedestrian and driver safety.

The Foundation has been especially active on the impaired driving front working with the police in various communities and with the family of Alexa Middelaer, the four-year old girl who was killed by an impaired driver in May 2008.

Alexa's Team is a force of over 425 RCMP and Municipal police from around the province that have been recognized for their diligent work by the Foundation in removing impaired drivers from the roads of B.C. Members of Alexa's Team have forwarded to Crown a minimum of ten full impaired driving charges and/or issued 90-Day Driving Prohibitions under the new Immediate Roadside Prohibition sanctions. In addition, these members have issued thousands of 24-Hour, 3-Day and 7-Day Driving Prohibitions in 2010 and removed 8,386 impaired drivers from the roads of British Columbia.

The Foundation, working with the Middelaer family, has launched "Back the Bus", a fundraising campaign to raise money to bring mobile impaired driving testing units to B.C.

Mobile impaired driving testing units are used by police around the world for education and enforcement in the fight against impaired driving.

As an educational tool, the bus would be available to schools and community events so the public could learn about the dangers of impaired driving and the police booking process. As an enforcement instrument, it would reduce the time it takes police to process impaired drivers by giving officers the facilities to complete the booking of impaired drivers at the roadside.

Each bus in British Columbia will be called Alexa's Bus, and like Alexa's Team and the current impaired driving sanctions, would be another way to help deter impaired drivers.

"I am proud of the work that I see in this province, and our team at the Foundation is honoured to be a partner in this work," stated Allan Lamb. "I strongly encourage all British Columbians to do their part to make our roads and communities safer."

For more information about road safety visit www.bcaatsf.ca  or call 604-298-5107. To support the Back the Bus campaign visit www.alexasbus.com 

Information about the Decade of Action on Road Safety can be found at www.who.int/roadsafety/decade_of_action/en/index.html

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.BCAATSF.ca  or call 604-298-5107.


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