Five Campbell River mounties were recently recognized for making our roads safer.
The local RCMP officers are members of Alexa’s Team, formed in 2008 and which boasts those police officers who are the top impaired driving investigators in the province.
The BCAA Road Safety Foundation, ICBC and Alexa Middelaer’s family honoured the five police officers from Campbell River as members of Alexa’s Team in recognition of their diligent efforts.
The local officers part of Alexa’s Team are: Cst. Kyle Ushock (Campbell River General Duty), Cst. Mark Blacklock (Campbell River Municipal Traffic), Cst. David Dormuth (Campbell River Municipal Traffic), Cst. Travis Draper (North Vancouver Island Traffic Services), and Cst. Jason Maclean (North Vancouver Island Traffic Services). The officers together removed a total of 140 impaired drivers.
B.C. reports that the number of fatalities related to impaired driving (drugs, alcohol, prescription medication) continues to drop, from 126 in 2010 to 73 in 2011, and preliminary data for 2012 shows a historic low of 59.
Preliminary RCMP data for 2012 also indicates that the number of impaired drivers on the road has significantly decreased with fewer drivers being charged. Combined with the reduction in fatalities, this suggests that public attitudes and behaviours are changing significantly when it comes to impaired driving.
“The recent drop in impaired-related motor vehicle fatalities is the ‘good news’ story,” stated Insp. Ted Emanuels, Officer in Charge for RCMP Lower Mainland District Traffic Services. “In 2011 and 2012, 120 people were not killed by impaired driving and 120 families were not devastated for life.”
Inspector Emanuels attributes the dramatic decrease in impaired driving in B.C. to effective partnerships between the police and government and private strategic road safety partners, and more importantly, the change in attitude and behaviour of the public. More than ever, impaired driving is not acceptable in B.C.
“Today we recognize Alexa’s Team members who work hard every day to reduce the number of alcohol-related injuries and fatalities on our roads – and the strategy is working,” said Shirley Bond, Minister of Justice and Attorney General. “The fight against impaired driving is about saving lives and protecting families and that’s exactly what Alexa’s Team members and police officers are doing in communities right across the province.”
ICBC thanked the RCMP members who worked hard to remove impaired drivers from B.C. roads.
“We want to sincerely thank all of the police officers on Alexa’s Team for their exceptional dedication and commitment to getting impaired drivers off our roads,” said John Dickinson, ICBC’s director, road safety. “We’re proud to be a part of Alexa’s Team and to support road safety initiatives like this that help make our roads safer for everyone.”
Laurel Middelaer, who lost her daughter Alexa to an impaired driver, said her entire family is encouraged by the drop in impaired drivers getting behind the wheel.
“As a family, we are heartened to see that there has been a significant decrease in the number of people injured and killed by impaired drivers over this past year,” stated Laurel Middelaer.
“We know that the members of Alexa’s Team have served unwaveringly to make our communities safer. Improving public safety is a tangible difference that we can make to honour those who suffered loss on our roads. We thank the officers for honouring our daughter, Alexa, in this notable way and for serving our communities with their excellence.
Alexa’s Team formed in memory of Alexa Middelaer, who was killed by an impaired driver when she was only four-years-old.
The team has grown over the past five years from 26 members to more than 1,000 new and returning members who are RCMP and Municipal police officers from all corners of the province.
Since 2008 team members have processed 41,354 impaired driving charges or penalties against drivers in violation of B.C.’s impaired driving laws.
To be nominated for Alexa’s Team, police officers must have removed at least 12 impaired drivers from the road in the previous calendar year through a Criminal Charge investigation (for alcohol or drug impairment) or through an administrative driving prohibition (90-Day Immediate Roadside Prohibition or 90-Day Administrative Driving Prohibition).