Don't crash the party this holiday season



    BURNABY, BC, Dec. 12 /CNW/ - The BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation is
reminding drivers not to crash the party this holiday season by driving while
impaired - and that means drugs too.
    While alcohol is still the leading cause of impairment when it comes to
driving offenses of this kind, drug impairment, is on the rise.
    A report released last year by The Road Safety Monitor: Drugs and Driving
found among other things that an estimated 520,000 Canadians drove after using
marijuana or hashish in the previous year. According to the Canadian Centre on
Substance Abuse young males are driving under the influence of cannabis as
often as, or more often, than they drive under the influence of alcohol.
    "Most drivers have fortunately changed their attitudes toward drinking
and driving but there appears to be a lack of education toward drugs and
driving," states Allan Lamb, executive director for the BCAA Traffic Safety
Foundation. "Impaired drivers kill 2 people every week on BC roads and I
suspect many of these drivers are impaired by a drug other than alcohol," said
Lamb.
    While tests show that alcohol consumption results in more aggressive
driving behaviours like speeding, drivers who use cannabis are more likely to
drive slowly, are less alert, have problems with time/distance perception, and
exhibit latent braking tendencies - all of which are extremely dangerous
driving behaviours in themselves.
    Impaired driving is not just about alcohol and illicit drugs according to
Cpl. Dave Savoy, Drug Recognition Expert for the Surrey RCMP. "Prescription
tranquilizers and narcotics can have adverse effects on coordination and
reaction time if not taken accordingly." Savoy adds that, "people may think
that marijuana and prescription medications have a lesser effect on their
ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. The truth is when prescription
drugs are not taken accordingly they are just as, if not more dangerous than
illegal drugs. Depending on the individual, some prescription drugs when
abused, can have the same outward results as someone who is very intoxicated -
sluggish movements and slurred speech for example. The person's ability to
operate a motor vehicle will more than likely be impaired by the prescription
drugs that they are abusing. This is easy to see because when someone is
taking a prescription and they are not getting the desired effect or pain
relief from the dosage that is prescribed, they then increase the dosage on
their own accord, when the body feels that this dosage is not enough they
increase it again and so on until without realizing it they are taking an
impairing level of the prescription medication, and then getting behind the
wheel of a car. A deadly combination."
    Driving is impaired when the ability to do so is affected by any
substance or condition that changes the mood or perception of reality of the
driver. Alcohol or drugs, illicit or prescription, and even fatigue and stress
will impair your driving. A combination of any or all of these things can be
deadly.
    Time is the only thing that reduces the effects drugs and alcohol. The
BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation is asking partygoers not to get behind the
wheel if they have consumed alcohol or drugs.

    
    Note: Backgrounder and Tip Sheet that accompanies this news release
          available at http://www.tsfbcaa.com/content/custompages/news.aspx


                             DRIVE TO SAVE LIVES
                               WWW.BCAATSF.CA
    

    About BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation:

    The BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation (TSF) 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 contact visit www.bcaatsf.ca or call 604-298-5107.

    Available for Interview:

    Allan Lamb, Executive Director for the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation
    Cpl. Dave Savoy, DRE Surrey RCMP - Traffic Services





For further information:

For further information: Lennea Durant, Media Relations, BCAA Traffic
Safety Foundation, Tel: (604) 875-1182, E-mail: lenneadurant@shaw.ca; Allan
Lamb, Executive Director, BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation, Tel: (604) 297-2151,
(604) 230-6159, E-mail: allan.lamb@tsf-bcaa.com

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BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation

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British Columbia Automobile Association

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