BCAA applauds wisdom of 2010 Grads choosing to celebrate without alcohol

BURNABY, BC, June 16 /CNW/ - As students leave the familiar hallways of high school and begin their adult lives, many graduates will be stepping out on the right foot by celebrating their important milestone free from alcohol and drugs. For the 19th consecutive year, BCAA is supporting students who make the wise choice to hold "Dry Grad" celebrations by donating 100 memberships to participating B.C. and Yukon high schools. The membership can be used as a gift, door prize or auction item to help with the school's Dry Grad fundraising.

"Parents, students and teachers work tirelessly all year to raise much needed funds to cover the costs of staging a Dry Grad event," says Trace Acres, BCAA's director of Corporate Communications & Government Affairs. "We want to help schools provide a safe, drug- and alcohol-free environment where grad students can celebrate with their friends, be entertained and steer clear of driving impaired."

Recent statistics reveal that impaired driving amongst teens is still an ongoing concern. According to the latest B.C. Traffic Collision Statistics collected in 2007:

    -   Young drivers aged 16 to 20 represented less than 6.5 per cent of the
        total driving population yet they were responsible for nearly
        15 per cent of all alcohol-related collisions that year.

    -   Drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 years account for the second-
        highest number of alcohol-related crashes, behind 21 to 25-year-old

    -   Out of the 7.1 per cent of under-aged alcohol-involved drivers,
        82 per cent were 17 and 18 years of age.

    -   The number of alcohol-related collisions is highest in the month of

    -   The number of drug- and alcohol-related fatal collisions increased
        between 2006 and 2007.

"Graduating from high school brings a new sense of freedom and maturity," says Allan Lamb, executive director of the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation. "I applaud those students who choose to celebrate with a Dry Grad and encourage them to continue to make responsible choices regarding alcohol, drugs and driving in the future."

Lamb also warns "drug-driving is just as big a risk to drivers and others road users." Recent research conducted by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse together with the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation shows clear evidence that drug use and driving is as big a problem as alcohol and driving.

BCAA's Dry Grad Challenge

BCAA will continue to provide support for high schools holding Dry Grad events. The organization is currently updating its annual Dry Grad Challenge program. Details about the new program will be provided to B.C. and Yukon high schools when the new school year begins. For more information, schools and their Dry Grad committee members can contact BCAA Corporate Communications by phone at (604) 268-5339 or email CorporateCom@bcaa.com.

Avoid spoiling your fun during grad and beyond. Before you get your party on:

    -   Choose a designated driver and be "uber" thankful that they've agreed
        to get everyone home safe;

    -   Keep money aside for a bus or taxi. Consider saving up money to
        specifically cover the cost of transportation for the times when
        you'll be consuming alcohol;

    -   Stay overnight in a safe place like a friend's home or make
        arrangements for hotel accommodations;

    -   Or, call a friend or family member who has not consumed any alcohol
        to pick you up. Then buy them a coffee or dinner to say thanks.

BCAA is the largest organization of its kind in B.C., with over 100 years experience and gross annual sales of nearly $400 million from its membership, insurance and travel businesses. A BCAA Membership can be found in the wallets of nearly 790,000 British Columbians and in one-in-four B.C. households. For the past two years, BCAA has received the highest score in Canada for home insurance customer satisfaction in a J.D. Power and Associates study. And, for the past four years, BCAA has been named one the 50 Best Employers in Canada by international HR consultants Hewitt Associates and the Globe & Mail's Report on Business magazine. To learn more about BCAA's products, services and member advocacy, visit www.bcaa.com. For more information on the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation visit www.tsf-bcaa.com.

SOURCE BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation

For further information: For further information: or to arrange for an interview please contact: Niela Melanio, BCAA Public Affairs Advisor, Tel: (604) 268-5342 (M-F between 9a.m.-5 p.m.), Cell: (778) 228-8859 (any time), E-mail: niela.melanio@bcaa.com; Allan Lamb, Executive Director, BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation, Tel: (604) 297-2151, Cell: (604) 230-6159, E-mail: allan@tsf-bcaa.com

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