Are You The Designated Driver Or Rider?

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Designated driver or rider - learner plates

It’s a typical Saturday night; you meet some friends, have a few drinks, and hop in the car with a designated driver to ensure a safe ride home. As you pull up to a roadblock, you’re expecting the police officer to give you a pat on the back for being responsible. Only instead he impounds your vehicle and suspends your license. How did this happen? Recently, this is exactly what happened to a BC grandfather. The Vancouver Sun reported that a 64-year old man let his grandson drive as his designated driver, only to have his car impounded and his license taken away because the grandfather was impaired.

We’ve always been told that if you’re planning on drinking, never get behind the wheel. Take an alternative method of transportation, like taxis, transit, or assign someone to be the designated driver. Road blocks, high ICBC penalty points, and strict laws have all been established to keep our roads safe and reduce the amount of car accidents, injuries, and fatalities due to drinking and driving.

So if you had a designated driver, how is it possible that you’ve just received a roadside suspension?

If the driver still has their ‘L’ or ‘N’, as the passenger you are expected to be their supervisor on the road. Because they are inexperienced drivers, you need to be alert and focused incase in case they need you for guidance.

Here’s a quick look at the rules for Learners and New drivers:

Learners (L) Drivers must:

  • Drive with a qualified supervisor, in the front seat, 25 or older, who has a valid driver’s license
  • Carry no more than two passengers, including your supervisor – drive only between 5 a.m. and midnight
  • Display your red L sign
  • Avoid alcohol while driving (no alcohol in body)

New (N) Drivers must:

  • Display official N sign
  • Zero alcohol
  • You are only allowed 1 passenger, unless they are family members. You may drive with as many family members as your vehicle has seatbelts for. (Family members are: mother, father, sister, brother, child, spouse, grandparent, grandchild; including step and foster relationships).
  • You may also drive with as many people as you have seatbelts for if you have a supervisor 25 or older with a valid class 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 driver’s license.

Whenever someone is the qualified supervisor of an ‘L’ or ‘N’ driver, they are not expected to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs in order to ensure that they can provide any necessary assistance or advice to the relatively new driver.

So the next time you head out for some beers, ask whoever is driving you home which class of license they currently hold. Otherwise you could be on the hook for drinking and riding.

Getting inebriated is never a good thing, but it can have life long consequences for yourself and others when it is combined with driving. If the careless driving of others has impacted your life, call Klein Lawyers for your free ICBC car accident consultation.

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