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Alexa's Law saves 190 lives: Ministry of Justice
B.C.'s Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) program has decreased drinking and driving deaths by 52 per cent in the three years since they were launched in memory of four-year-old Alexa Middelaer, the provincial Ministry of Justice announced this week.
Middelaer was killed by drunk driver Carol Ann Berner in 2008 after Berner lost control of her car and struck Middelaer while she was feeding a horse at the side of the road on the 4300-block of 64th Street in Ladner. Middelaer's aunt, Daphne Johanson, was also seriously injured in the collision.
"What happened to Alexa was entirely preventable, and her family is one of many whose lives have been forever changed by drunk drivers," said Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton in a press release on Monday.
The Province originally set its goal to reduce drinking and driving fatalities by 35 per cent by the end of 2013 when it launched the Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) program in 2010.
Under the IRP program, drinking-and-driving fatalities have dropped to an average of 54 a year, from a prior five-year average of 112.
Alexa's mother, Laurel Middelaer, said she was humbled by the results.
"These results demonstrate that change is possible, and it is an achievement British Columbians can all be proud of," said. "After decades of stagnant progress on reducing the number of preventable deaths caused by drinking and driving, as a community we've made significant and sustained changes. This is the result of a
desire for the best and safest roads for our community, something that each
British Columbian deserves."
A 2013 study by the University of Victoria's Centre for Addictions
Research of BC found that B.C.'s drinking and driving law has also resulted in significant declines in injuries (23 per cent) and property damage (19.5 per cent).
In a 2012 Roadside Alcohol and Drug Survey, 44 per cent fewer drivers had a
blood alcohol content (BAC) 0.05 per cent and over - and nearly 60 per cent fewer drivers were at or over the Criminal Code threshold of 0.08 per cent - compared to the June 2010 survey conducted before the IRP program came into effect.
Under the IRP program, the penalties for a "warn" IRP (0.05 BAC and above)
include the immediate seizure of a driver's licence for at least three days, a three-day vehicle impoundment, and $200 administrative penalty. For a "fail" IRP (0.08 BAC and above), the penalties include the immediate
seizure of a driver's licence for 90 days, a 30-day vehicle impoundment, and $500 administrative penalty.
As of Dec. 31, 2013, more than 61,000 IRPs have been issued since the program's inception in September 2010.