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

NAV CANDA is considering closing its station at the West Kootenay Regional Airport. Photo: Betsy Kline
Nav Canada considering closing station at West Kootenay Regional Airport

The organization is conducting a service review at Castlegar’s airport

Enrolment is down across the entire district. File photo
SD 20 experiences small decline in student enrolment

District staff said more parents are homeschooling their children this year due to COVID-19 crisis

Internet service in the West Kootenay is improving thanks to provincial government grants. File photo
COVID-19 support program brings faster internet to rural communities

The province has provided grants to local internet providers

An image from Castlegar city council on Zoom.
Castlegar council decides to keep meeting online

City council meetings will remain online at least until January

The Kootenay Boundary Physician Association is sponsoring a pumpkin carving contest at KBRH. Photo: Submitted
‘Carve your hearts out’ at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital

Pumpkin carvings by KBRH staff will be on display Thursday and Friday in the hospital lobby

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

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

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

Glen Byle spent election night at home with his kids. Photo: Submitted
A post-election message from Conservative Party candidate Glen Byle

Glen Byle was a Conservative Party candidate for Kootenay West in the provincial election.

Andrew Duncan was the Green candidate for Kootenay West. Photo: Submitted
A post-election message from Green Party candidate Andrew Duncan

Andrew Duncan was a Green Party candidate for Kootenay West in the provincial election.

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

The duffel bags were found to contain 84 pounds of cocaine, valued at approximately $1.2 million and 198 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at approximately $960,000. Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
2 men accused of fleeing border agents near U.S.-B.C. border with $2M in drugs

Cocaine and methamphetamine seized by U.S. law enforcement in remote Idaho area near Canadian border

Most Read