Eight police officers from Parksville Qualicum Beach were honored at a ceremony in Victoria last week for their efforts in taking drunk drivers off the road.
The RCMP are part of Alexa’s Team, a movement to eliminate alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths started in part by Alexa Middelaer’s parents to honour their four-year-old daughter, who was killed by a drunk driver in 2008.
The Parksville constables recognized are as follows: Matt Beckett, Cory Smith, Jordan Reid, Tamara Aquilini, Blake Manchur, A.J. Obodzinski, Shawn Parker and Doug Pennington.
Since its inception, the program has seen a 52 per cent decrease in deaths related to impaired driving, representing 190 lives saved in the last three years, according to a news release issued by Alexa’s Team media relations.
“In a short period of time we have seen such a massive decrease,” said Mike Elston, Operations NCO of Central Vancouver Island Traffic Services. “It’s something none of us truly expected and we continuously go out and enforce drinking and driving laws.”
Elston said to make Alexa’s Team RCMP members are challenged to issue at least 12 DUIs per year.
In 2012, Beirness and Associates Inc. conducted their bi-annual roadside survey to measure alcohol and drug use among B.C. 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 per cent blood alcohol content.
“It (drinking and driving) is still something that happens on a regular basis but people are paying closer attention to their consumption and becoming more aware of the consequences,” said Elston. “There’s a mind shift that’s happening — wheather that’s because people are getting smarter or more fearful of the consequences I don’t know.”