Large crowd for the unveiling of the bus.

The legacy of Alexa Middelaer continues with a new bus to fight against drinking and driving.

Four-year-old Alexa was with her aunt feeding a horse on the side of the road when she was struck and killed in May of 2008. Carol Berner, who was over the legal limit, was also 40 km over the speed limit and lost control, hitting both Alexa and her aunt by a Delta ranch. Berner was sentenced to 30 months in prison in 2010.

The Middelaer family has since been vocal advocates against drinking and driving. Alexa's legacy initiated the Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) program in 2010. As part of the program, B.C. set a goal to reduce drinking and driving fatalities by 35 per cent by the end of 2013. In actuality, there were 52 per cent fewer deaths in 2013. Additionally, Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton announced Friday that the IRP has saved an estimated 227 lives and caused a 54 per cent reduction in alcohol-related fatalities since its launch.

Alexa's Bus will be used at various community events, educating people on the dangers of drinking and driving. The bus has criminal evidentiary breath testing equipment and mobile work stations for police to process impaired driving cases on the road. On board is also a private space for drivers accused of drinking and driving to consult with their lawyers.

A large group was there for the unveiling of Alexa's Bus at the Justice Institute of British Columbia on Friday, including the Middelaer family, RCMP and municipal police members, Alexa's Team, and over 40 students from Southride School in Surrey. These students were mostly in grade six, which is the grade Alexa would have been in.

The shiny new bus to honour Alexa's legacy.

"The Middelaer family inspired B.C. to get tough on drinking and driving, and we continue to lead the way nationally with our Immediate Roadside Prohibition program,” said Anton. “Alexa's Bus is a legacy in her memory that will allow police to do even more to protect road users across the province."

Laurel Middelaer also commented, saying that “With the launch of Alexa's Bus, we are deeply pleased that many talented and committed hands and minds have come together to deliver a truly innovative platform that will help ensure that B.C.'s roads become the safest in Canada. British Columbians should be confident and proud to have the most advanced road safety technology in their communities that will both educate drivers and enhance enforcement efforts.”

Alexa's bus cost about $300,000, which was raised by B.C., ICBC, BCAA, the business community, Southridge School students, and other private donors.

Laurel Middelaer and Suzannne Anton at the Alexa Bus launch

Source: Kelowna Now


Last updated on: 2014-10-09 | Link to this post