Offering rides for a fee isn’t legal in B.C. unless specific requirements are met including having the proper license and insurance. (BeyondDC/Flickr)

Designated drivers who charge for rides in B.C. may be breaking the law

A specific licence, proper insurance among the requirements for ‘side-hustle’ rides

Designated drivers who charge for rides in B.C. may be violating the law and breaching their insurance.

While having a designated driver is recommended for nights like New Year’s Eve, it’s illegal for them to ask for payment for rides in B.C. without meeting specific requirements, noted Christine Kirby, road safety coordinator for the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC).

People need to be careful when it comes to the specifics of designated driving, Kirby said. Offering a ride to friends or family for free or for the price of gas is fine, but when a dollar amount is put on the ride itself, it becomes like a taxi or business, she explained.

READ ALSO: Nearly 30 impaired drivers pulled over during the holiday season: West Shore RCMP

Bowen Osoko, a spokesperson for VicPD, noted that offering rides for a fee without the proper licensing isn’t legal at any time of year in B.C. – it’s a violation under the Motor Vehicle Act. To operate like a taxi, drivers need to follow specific requirements; primarily, they need a Class 4 commercial license and, depending on their municipality’s bylaws, they may need a taxi license or business license, he said.

Osoko pointed out that while it may seem hard to catch people operating a designated driver “side-hustle,” they’re often reported by legitimate taxi drivers or caught during a traffic stop. He added that in the event of an accident, ICBC may refuse to pay for the damage.

Kirby also pointed out that even offering rides for free can be a risk when it comes to insurance. The driver would need higher liability insurance and if they were caught without it, they may be found in breach of their insurance.

General insurance isn’t made for “hauling people” and drivers can’t be “using their insurance for what it’s not made for,” Kirby said.

READ ALSO: Metchosin woman offers free rides home for New Year’s Eve party-goers

She recommends that folks who’d like to offer their services as a designated driver volunteer for an existing designated driver company such as Operation Red Nose.

Those companies have the proper insurance that acts as blanket coverage for all their drivers, Kirby explained.

She noted that there is still time for interested drivers to join a team in time for New Year’s Eve. The drivers will simply need to stop by an ICBC office first to pick up a driver’s abstract so the company can assess the driver’s history – like a criminal record check.

Osoko emphasized out that police always encourage people to find a safe ride home after a night of drinking and all the traditional options – buses, taxis, appointing a sober driver – are recommended. He suggests avoiding the side-business ride options as it comes with unnecessary risks and officers will already be out trying to keep everyone safe while they ring in the new year.

READ ALSO: Head of ICBC writes public apology to West Shore community


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Windstorm blows through Kelowna

Photos from readers in the Central Okanagan following Wednesday night’s storm

Halloween festivities cancelled at Kelowna’s Orchard Park Shopping Centre

Physical distancing guidelines would not be attainable while holding the annual trick-or-treat event

Historic BC Tree Fruits head office in downtown Kelowna for sale

The company’s CEO said the decision was necessary due to a fickle fruit market

Vernon ‘schools are healthy’: IH medical health officer

Children have a low risk of catching and spreading COVID-19

2020 overdose death toll rises to 73 in the Okanagan

Just under half of the deaths occurred in Kelowna

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Kamloops Mounties happened upon alleged gang-related robbery, kidnapping

Michael Mathieson is charged with armed robbery, unlawful confinement and kidnapping

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Interior Health reports five new COVID-19 cases

Across the region, 34 cases are active

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Penticton quadruple murder trial begins in Kelowna next month

John Brittain, 69, is facing three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

Most Read