Strong message sent to drivers: No excuses for drinking and driving



    VICTORIA, June 25 /CNW/ - ICBC, the Province and police are sending a
message to impaired drivers this summer - it's time to bury all excuses for
drinking and driving.
    This morning, ICBC and police launched a month-long public awareness and
enforcement campaign at a graveside service at Hatley Memorial Gardens.
Nicolas Jimenez, ICBC's Road Safety director, along with the police and
Colwood's mayor, Jody Twa, buried signs with common excuses for drinking and
driving in a grave (e.g. "I can handle my liquor."; "It's only a short drive
home."; "I don't want to pay for a taxi."; "I'm OK to drive.").
    "More than 100 British Columbians die every year as a direct result of
drinking and driving," said John van Dongen, minister of public safety and
solicitor general. "The tragedy behind that number is the terrible cost to
B.C. families and the fact that those deaths are preventable."
    Although the Drinking Driving CounterAttack campaign is one of the many
initiatives that has helped reduce B.C.'s alcohol-related crash fatalities by
some 50 per cent over the past 30 years, the consequences remain severe. On
average, 3,170 people are injured and 116 are killed in 4,980 alcohol-related
crashes each year (average annual figures from 2002-2006 police data).
Annually, this costs ICBC and drivers more than $140 million in claims costs.
    "Everyone benefits when we all drive safely," said Jimenez. "First and
foremost, we minimize the tragic toll car crashes have on people's lives. But
we're also reminding drivers that the insurance rates you pay reflect how you
drive. Higher risk drivers will simply pay more," said Jimenez. With the
introduction of the Driver Risk Premium, if you're convicted of drinking and
driving, you'll pay more for your insurance.
    ICBC's campaign features radio, television, and restaurant and bar
advertising reminding drivers about the increased police presence and the need
to stop making excuses for drinking and driving. ICBC is also working with
employers to help spread the message to their staff.
    Police throughout the province will ramp up roadchecks throughout the
summer.
    "The police, ICBC and the provincial government have been working hard to
combat drinking and driving over the years. While we've helped to reduce the
number of fatalities, impaired driving is still the number one criminal cause
of death in Canada," commented deputy chief Mike Chadwick of the Saanich
police, also president of the B.C. Association Chiefs of Police.
    "The RCMP's goal is to have the safest roads in the world by 2010," added
staff sergeant Andrew Isles of the RCMP and Capital Regional District
Integrated Road Safety Unit. "Working with partners like ICBC to combine
enforcement with education is a vital step in achieving this goal."
    For more information on the impaired driving campaign, visit
www.icbc.com.





For further information:

For further information: Media contacts; Caroline Robinson, (250)
729-3518; Elizabeth Heinz, (250) 729-3522

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