Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Nanaimo Drivers -- Listen Up!


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," added 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.


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