It’s graduation season again and the Government of B.C. is reminding graduates and their families that making good transportation choices during the celebrations will mean a safe end to the evening, announced Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone.
Many transportation options are available to grads. These include personal cars with designated drivers, limousines and buses, and public transit. Consumption of alcohol is illegal in all of these modes of transportation.
It is the law in British Columbia that no alcohol can be consumed while traveling in any vehicle. Passengers need to know that limousine operators must refuse to board passengers carrying alcohol and they must terminate trips if they find alcohol being consumed in a vehicle. Trips must be terminated in a safe manner such as returning passengers to their starting point or calling parents to come and pick up minors. Operators who do not comply with liquor laws run the risk of losing their licences.
On May 12, the Passenger Transportation Branch held its annual pre-graduation meeting with limousine operators to remind them of their legal responsibility to ensure they have sufficient safeguards in place to provide a safe and suitable environment for grad activities. These responsibilities include appropriate advertising of their services on websites or other media.
Advertising cannot allude to of the consumption of alcohol in a company-operated vehicle - it is illegal. The ministry is encouraged by the number of operators that have cleaned up their websites and added information about B.C.’s liquor laws to their contracts and advertising. Those operators lagging behind will be held accountable.
In February, the Province introduced a new licensing regulation to increase safety and accountability in B.C.’s limousine industry. Limousine operators using vehicles with perimeter seating must have a special-authorization licence. These licences state where vehicles can operate and limit fleet size. To date, 71 licensed operators have received their new special-authorized licence plates and decals for 165 vehicles.
Vehicles must have a passenger transportation plate and decal displayed at all times. This enables local police and Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement officers to easily identify the vehicles and determine whether they are operating within their terms of their licence. It also allows the registrar of passenger transportation to maintain records of all vehicles operating under the authority of the licence.
The RCMP and local police will be conducting focused enforcement during grad season and will continue to ticket those breaking the law, such as those consuming alcohol in an unlicensed public place, including commercial passenger vehicles.
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone ─
“For graduation or any other kind of special celebration, we want to ensure that British Columbians are safe in whatever form of transportation they use. We will continue to look at ways to improve passenger transportation in B.C., so that students, their families and friends and others, have peace of mind that they will get home safely.”
Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton ─
“Drinking alcohol on a party bus, limo, SUV or any other vehicle continues to be illegal and police will enforce this law on B.C.’s roads - including during the busy graduation season. I hope that this year’s graduating students take extra care to ensure they have a safe and happy celebration.”
BC Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee A/Inspector Ken Eng ─
Graduation is a significant milestone in life. Celebrating graduation should be the first day of the rest of your life and not the last. Students, teachers and parents all have responsibilities and a role to play to ensure that celebration events, formal or informal, are safe, including the transportation to and from these events. The police in B.C. will be enforcing Liquor Act and Motor Vehicle Act legislation with the objective that everyone gets home safe. Working together, we can prevent a tragedy from being part of the Class of 2015 legacy.”
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure