BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation Reminds Drivers to Stay Straight Behind the

BURNABY, BC, Dec. 14 /CNW/ - As the festive holiday season approaches there is an increase in social activity. Much of that activity will involve alcohol, drug use and driving.

"A majority of impaired drivers come from private functions involving friends, family or colleagues," says BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation Executive Director Allan Lamb. "Allowing someone to leave your company who may be impaired should not be an option. Getting behind the wheel if you are impaired is simply irresponsible."

Impaired driving is a criminal offence. Both alcohol and drugs, illicit or prescription, will impair a person's ability to drive a vehicle, and when drugs are mixed with alcohol the effects on one's ability to drive are compounded.

There is an increase in impaired drivers that are impaired by both drugs and alcohol or drugs alone.

"It is astounding how drugs are taking the place of alcohol with impaired drivers," commented Lamb. "There is a perception that drugs like marijuana or prescription medications have little or no effect on driver performance. That is simply not true."

This year police are committing more resources to the CounterAttack road blocks in a focused campaign to apprehend and prosecute all impaired drivers.

In B.C. there are over 1,100 officers that have been trained to recognize alcohol and drug impairment in drivers. There are over 120 additional officers whose goal is to determine through lab tests what drugs the driver may have consumed and assess the level of impairment.

This is good news to the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation and the parents of Alexa Middelaer, who lost her life in May of 2008 at the hands of a 56-year-old woman who was charged with impaired driving causing bodily harm and death, and two charges of dangerous driving causing bodily harm and death

In memory of Alexa, the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation has established the Alexa Middelaer Memorial Fund to further educate the public about the dangers of impaired driving; advocate for changes to policies and processes around impaired driving crimes, and to recognize those individuals who make an extraordinary contribution to fight against impaired driving.

For tips on how to have a safe holiday season or for information about how you can make a donation to the Alexa Middelaer Memorial Fund contact the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation's website www.bcaatsf.ca.

About BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation

The BCAA Traffic 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.

                             DRIVE TO SAVE LIVES

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SOURCE BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation

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, E-mail: allan.lamb@tsf-bcaa.com

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