EDITORIAL: Keeping Alexa in mind

Though many steps have been made to eradicate impaired driving, there is more we can do.

It has been seven years since four-year-old Alexa Middelaer was killed by an alcohol-impaired driver, while feeding horses along the side of the road with her aunt.

In that time the police, her family and their many supporters have worked tirelessly to make B.C.’s roads safer for everyone through Alexa’s Team – which was created in 2008 and honours police officers dedicated to removing drunk drivers from our streets.

In recent years, drunk-driving rules – and penalties for those who break them – have been tightened across the province, which is, of course, commendable.

Recently, Alexa’s Bus – a mobile-safety unit that travels throughout B.C. – has been on a blitz through the province, nominating RCMP officers to Alexa’s Team along the way.

To all who are nominated, the accolades are well-deserved, but at the same time, it is sad that their work is still necessary, when the deadly consequences of impaired driving are so well-known.

The work of Alexa’s team – and all who promote safe driving and work to eradicate drunk driving from our society – is always brought into stark relief during the summer months, as people hit the road for summer vacation. And whether those vacations include camping trips, music festivals or simply gathering with friends for an afternoon barbecue, the chances of making the poor decision to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol looms.

And just like seven years ago when Alexa – who attended preschool in Crescent Beach – was killed, each summer provides us more impaired-driving crashes, and more sobering reminders that there is still much work to be done.

The solutions to keeping our roads safe are, of course, relatively simple ones, rooted in common sense.

If you know your activities will involve alcohol, plan ahead, and arrange for a designated driver. If your plans change midway to involve alcohol, then call a taxi or take public transit.

And if, for some reason, none of those options are feasible, call a friend, a family member, walk home or crash on somebody’s couch for the night. They may not be ideal solutions, but anything is better than choosing to get behind the wheel in that situation.

Do your part to keep the roads safe. We do not need any more fatalities or serious-injury crashes to remind us of the perils of drinking and driving.

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