Alexa’s Team honoured for delivering on promise to family

Barriere RCMP Constable one of many contributing to 52 per cent decrease in alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths

Barriere RCMP Constable Jesse Wilkins is a member of the 2013 Alexa’s Team from the south east region of B.C. (pictured)

Barriere RCMP Constable Jesse Wilkins is a member of the 2013 Alexa’s Team from the south east region of B.C. (pictured)

Barriere, B.C. / May 6, 2014 – The members of Alexa’s Team have delivered on their promise to the family of Alexa Middelaer, and other families that have lost loved ones to drinking driving, by significantly reducing the number of alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths in BC.

In recognition of their diligence and success enforcing the impaired driving laws of this province, ICBC, the Justice Institute of BC and the Middelaer family are honouring the 313 officers who form the 2013 Alexa’s Team at four events held in Surrey, Greater Victoria, Kelowna and Prince George.

In 2010, The Middelaer family challenged the RCMP, Municipal police officers, and the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General of British Columbia to reduce the number of deaths caused by alcohol impaired driving by 35 per cent by the end of 2013, the year Alexa would have turned 10-years old.

The 52 per cent decrease in alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths announced by the Ministry of Justice in February, represents 190 lives saved. Drinking and driving fatalities have dropped significantly over the past three years and Alexa’s Team members were responsible for almost 50 per cent of the impaired driving enforcement in BC in 2013.

In 2012, Beirness and Associates Inc. conducted their bi-annual roadside survey to measure alcohol and drug use among BC drivers. The findings indicated that the levels of drinking and driving were the lowest ever recorded with 8.3 per cent of drivers testing over .05 blood alcohol content. The study also indicated that patterns of drug use by drivers were more consistent than alcohol use with 7.4 per cent of drivers testing positive for drug-impairment.

Alexa’s Team members have been working just as diligently on the drug-impaired driving front removing 231 drivers impaired by drugs from the roads in 2013.

Constable Jesse Wilkins  of the  RCMP Detachment in Barriere was one of those recognized at the Kelowna ceremony.  Constable Wilkins total impaired drivers removed from the roads was nine.  All nine were drug impaired.

“Alexa’s story reminds us that B.C.’s tough approach to drinking and driving is in place to protect families, and it was in her memory that we first brought in our tough drinking driving laws,” said Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Suzanne Anton.  “Thanks to the many police officers who enforce the law and keep us all safe from injury and death on the road, 190 more people are alive today. The Province is honoured to help recognize and thank this year’s new members of Alexa’s Team for their .service to British Columbians.”

RCMP “E” Division, OIC Enhanced Traffic Services Programs, Insp. Ted Emanuels stated, “The 313 members of Alexa’s Team, from the RCMP and municipal police departments across the province, have risen to the challenge and demonstrated that commitment to a noble cause can save lives and make the roads of B.C. safer for all of us.  Our objective remains to work with our road safety partners to eliminate impaired driving as a cause of fatal and serious injury collisions.”

ICBC Director of Road Safety, John Dickinson said, “We want to thank all of the dedicated police officers on Alexa’s Team for their exceptional commitment to getting impaired drivers off our roads. We’re proud to be part of this remarkable initiative that has helped save countless lives. We can all do our part to keep roads safe – plan ahead if your activities involve alcohol and arrange for a designated driver, call a taxi or take transit.”

Since 2008, Alexa’s Team members have processed more than 50,000 impaired driving charges and penalties, and the number of team members has grown significantly, from 26 to 1,321, and includes officers from all regions of the province.