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

District looking for public input on cycling plan

Survey is open to the public until May 25

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Flooding highly unlikely this year throughout Skeena watershed

Region’s snowpack among lowest in the province

Cameras and convoys: Graduation in the age of COVID-19

Schools in Terrace and Kitimat are thinking outside the box to give students a graduation ceremony

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Most Read