Although the law dictates that patrons should never reach a state of intoxication, there are occasions when this does happen and you will need to practice due diligence to ensure patrons get home safely.
One solution is to call a designated driver service. When you, or your customer, call one of these services, two employees will arrive in one vehicle. One will take the patron, in the patron’s own vehicle, to his or her destination. The second driver will follow in the other car to collect the first driver.
It’s important to remember that if an accident occurs while a designated driver is operating a vehicle, it is the vehicle owner’s insurance that will be affected. In the province of BC, the responsibility for an insurance claim falls to whomever the car is licensed and insured to, not to the person driving at the time of the accident.
The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) offers an optional valet policy for designated driver services. This policy prevents the patron’s insurance from being seriously impacted if an accident occurs while a designated driver service is operating a vehicle. Keep in mind, however, that not all designated driver services have ICBC’s valet policy. Some services may opt for increased third party liability coverage instead. This type of policy does not prevent the patron’s insurance from being affected, but it will cover any damages and costs associated with an accident if they are in excess of the patron’s insurance coverage.
Options across BC
If there is no designated driver service in your community, other options, including taxis, public transit, and tow trucks, can help get patrons home safely.
Operation Red Nose
Operation Red Nose is run by local non-profit organizations in select communities each holiday season. The service is free, with any donations going to local youth and amateur sport charities. Telephone: 1-877-604-NOSE (6673). For details about how your community can participate, call 1-800-463-7222.
BCAA’s Safe-Ride-Home Service allows BCAA members to have their car towed home if they are unable to drive. Members are entitled to one Safe-Ride-Home call per year; the call counts as one of their annual service calls. There is no extra charge for this service as long as the distance is within the maximum towing distance allowed by the patron’s membership; members can pay a per-kilometer charge for a longer tow. Telephone: 1-800-222-4357 (Note: BCAA membership number required)
Taxi Guy is a nationwide network of taxicab companies linked together through one toll-free phone number. TAXIDOLLARS can be purchased online for patron transportation and posters can be downloaded from the website. Telephone: 1-888-TAXIGUY
#TAXI provides direct access to the first available taxi company or one preferred taxi company by calling #TAXI (#-8-2-9-4) from a cell phone anywhere in Canada where taxi service is available. A fee between $1.25 and $2.00 per call is charged, depending on the cell phone carrier. Users can also download the free #TAXI mobile app to launch a call using their smart phone’s GPS coordinates.
Many towing companies will tow patrons’ vehicles home. Check with your local towing companies to see which services are available for your community.
Many communities offer special holiday services and some provide free rides on New Year’s Eve. Check your local services, either on the Web or by phone, for bus, train or other transit schedules.
- Visit Translink for transit service info and schedules around Metro Vancouver.
- Visit BC Transit for communities outside of Metro Vancouver.
For special occasions or large events
BC Liquor Stores Get Home Safe Program
The BC Liquor Distribution Branch offers a Get Home Safe transit ticket program for organizers of special events. Eligible events are those which benefit a registered charity and involve educating consumers about alcoholic beverages.
ICBC Special Occasion Support Kit
ICBC’s Special Occasion Support Kit includes materials to help prevent alcohol-related incidents at events and encourage guests to use a designated driver or other safe option to get home safely. For more information, please visit the ICBC website.