ICBC urges grads to plan for a safe ride home

    The top five smart driving tips for grad season

    VANCOUVER, June 4 /CNW/ - Youth throughout the province are gearing up to
celebrate a very important milestone in their lives - graduation.
    While it's an exciting time of year, ICBC is reminding graduates to
celebrate safely by planning ahead and making smart decisions. Car crashes are
the number one killer of youth in B.C. Unsafe speeds and alcohol are the top
two contributing factors.
    Here are ICBC's top five smart driving tips for getting home safely this
grad season:

    No. 1 - Plan ahead: Arrange for a safe way home. Make plans to have a
designated driver. Treat yourself to a limousine or take a taxi, public
transit or call a friend or family member for a ride home. On average, 1,500
youth are injured and 13 are killed during the months of May and June every

    No. 2 - Impairment starts with the first drink: ...not after you've had a
few. The risk of crashing increases with each alcoholic drink. By the time you
reach .02 you'll have difficulty attending to more than one task and
maintaining your attention and alertness.

    No. 3 - Buckle up: If you don't wear your seatbelt, you are 25 times more
likely to be killed in a crash if ejected from the vehicle. In a 50 km/h
head-on crash, a 150-pound adult not wearing a seatbelt will collide with
other occupants, strike the inside of the vehicle or get thrown from the car
with the same force as the weight of a 31/2-ton truck.

    No. 4 - Don't give in to peer pressure: Never get in a vehicle with an
impaired driver. If you're the designated driver for the night, don't let your
passengers influence your driving behaviour.
    Next time you feel peer pressured, think of ICBC RoadSense Speaker John
Westhaver's story. Six weeks prior to graduation, Westhaver and two friends
didn't discourage their sober driver from speeding while they were drinking
and listening to loud music in the car. The driver lost control of the car and
it swerved into a ditch, rolled several times and burst into flames. Westhaver
was the only survivor, leaving him with burns to 75 percent of his body. The
driver died instantly and his two other friends burned to death. John now
shares his story with youth to raise awareness about safe driving and the
power of making smart driving choices.

    No. 5 - Be responsible and make smart driving decisions: Your smart
decisions can have a significant influence on others. So set an example,
whether you're a driver or passenger. Take a stand and don't let people drive
if they are drinking alcohol. We all have the power of making smart decisions.

    ICBC is committed to working with youth, parents, educators and community
groups to help reduce crashes, identify the risks of the road and provide
young drivers with strong decision-making skills.
    For more information and helpful tips on road safety, visit

    (*) Statistics are based on 2003 to 2007 ICBC and police data. Injuries are
rounded to the nearest hundred and taken from ICBC data. Fatal counts are
unrounded and taken from police data. Youth are defined as road users age 16
to 21 and include drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists.

For further information:

For further information: Adam Grossman, (604) 982-1332

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