Lifestyles

Being designated driver not good idea for new drivers

Drivers who are part of B.C.'s Graduated Licencing Program (GLP) are limited to the number of passengers that they are allowed to carry by a restriction on their driver's licence.

This restriction is designed to minimize the driver distraction that might be caused by a carload of rambunctious friends. The only exception to this restriction is when the passengers are family members.

Police are often faced with a GLP participant who has taken on the responsibility of designated driver and exceeds their passenger restriction with a collection of intoxicated people of many ages that are not family.

The justification used is that if the passenger limit was obeyed then some or all of these passengers would be impaired drivers instead. Occasionally the GLP driver has also consumed alcohol, contrary to another restriction on their licence.

If the GLP driver has consumed, that is the end of the trip for all involved. The resulting suspension ends the designated driving and finds an unhappy group of people at the roadside trying to get home or to the next party.

If not, some of the passengers will have to relinquish their seats in order for the others to proceed. Another unhappy group results.

While being a designated driver is a thoughtful gesture on the part of the GLP driver, these situations highlight the lack of thought that went into the plans, or lack of them, for the evening.

More often than not, the GLP driver and their passengers are not yet old enough to consume alcohol legally, so they should not be in this position.

Hello, parents, you also have a stake in this. There are better solutions than what is being attempted here.

For more information on this topic, visit www.drivesmartbc.ca. Questions or comments are welcome by e-mail to comments@drivesmartbc.ca. Tim Schewe is a retired RCMP constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. His column appears Thursdays.

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