New Regulations That Impact Designated Driver Services in Oshawa

Results of Imposing New Rules for Designated Driver Services Were Predictable

Most people are likely familiar with the role of a designated driver; this is the person that abstains from consuming alcohol in order to safely drive home other members of a group who have been imbibing, sometimes to excess, at a local establishment or private party. In fact, designated driving is a common recommendation in ads for drinking responsibly.

What may be less known, although just as important with respect to promoting safety on local roads, is the availability of licensed designated driver services, an amenity that has grown in size and popularity in recent years. These services are defined under the City of Oshawa’s licensing bylaws as the “transportation of an impaired Registered Motor Vehicle Owner and their passengers, where applicable, in the Registered Motor Vehicle Owner's vehicle from a licensed establishment or a social engagement within the City to one or more residences for payment of a salary, a fee or for any other consideration.”

Essentially, this eliminates the need to choose a member of the partying group to act as the designated driver, and places that task/responsibility with businesses that have been licensed and approved to provide these services. Petley-Hare Limited Insurance Brokers encourages the use of these designated driver, or DD, services when appropriate/needed and offers applicable insurance coverage accordingly through a dedicated pilot project.

Unfortunately, these DD services have been adversely impacted by the city’s decision to introduce new regulations, effective in January 2017, that are specifically directed at DD companies and their drivers while overlooking other types of ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft that are operating outside of the city’s licensing bylaws. These revised regulations include incurring the costs of the following:

  • A G-level driver’s license
  • A medical clearance letter
  • A criminal information report
  • A driver’s abstract (driving history record)

If the cost is not a sufficient deterrent, all licensed designated drivers must now be 25 years of age or older, making it even more prohibitive for certain groups, most notably students, to take on these DD roles on a part-time basis in order to earn extra income.

Furthermore, the new regulations have resulted in reduced services and increased risks for the people of Oshawa; David Hare, Owner of Petley-Hare Limited Insurance Brokers, offers this perspective:

DD Services have provided a valuable and very inexpensive service to Oshawa residents for many years, in getting drivers, their passengers, and their cars home safely after they have been drinking. Given their exceptional track record, I feel that the City’s efforts to regulate DD Services, while ignoring other ride sharing services, was misdirected and simply a misguided effort to placate the taxi industry in Oshawa. The result of the imposition of these new regulations was predictable; reduced services available to Oshawa residents, longer wait times and ultimately, more drivers deciding to take a chance rather than wait for an available driver.“

It is the latter point that is most disconcerting to Hare and his team, as it should be for all who use the roads throughout our community. Driving under the influence of alcohol can have serious short-term and long-term consequences for drivers and passengers, as well as any innocent drivers and pedestrians with whom they may cross paths; the cost of a licensed and insured designated driver service is a comparatively insignificant price to pay after a night of partying.

About Petley-Hare Limited Insurance Brokers

Impact Of New Regulations On Auto Insurance

Petley-Hare Limited has been providing insurance options tailored to satisfy the needs of Durham Region families and businesses since 1922. Knowledgeable representatives are ready and willing to assist with a variety of personal and commercial insurance products including:

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