graduationVictoria: Graduation season is around the corner and the Government of B.C. is reminding British Columbians to celebrate safely and make good decisions when riding in limousines or any vehicle with perimeter seating.

“We want everyone to travel safely during this year’s graduation season and there are many options for getting around,” said Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone. “These include cars with designated drivers, limousines and buses, or public transit – whatever you choose, choose wisely with thoughts of getting home safely at the end of the evening – and remember that it is illegal to consume alcohol in any vehicle.”

Operators of limousines and limo-buses have to display their passenger transportation licence plate and decal on every vehicle. This allows government and law enforcement to better enforce these rules and motivate operators to provide a service that is safe and compliant with provincial laws.

“Graduation is a significant milestone in life,” said Chief Constable Neil Dubord, chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. “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.  Police in British Columbia will be enforcing Liquor Control and Licensing 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 2016 legacy.”

The Passenger Transportation Registrar continues to lead compliance and education activities with industry related to the advertising of alcohol in vehicles. Advertising cannot allude to the consumption of alcohol in a company-operated vehicle; it is illegal. Consumers, especially those booking trips for minors, are encouraged to look for licensees that advertise strict policies related to drinking in vehicles.

Operators who do not comply with liquor laws run the risk of losing their licence, and minors in possession of alcohol are subject to a $230 fine. Government has provided limousine operators with decals for their vehicles that read: “Consuming alcohol in any vehicle is illegal in B.C.” The Registrar also provided information to members of the B.C. Coalition of Parent Advisory Committees at its annual general meeting on April 29, 2016, to help promote safe graduation this year.

Operators have an obligation to ensure the safety of their passengers and drivers. They have the right to refuse to provide service if they believe intoxicated passengers could put anyone in the vehicle, including the driver, at risk. If a driver has to terminate a trip because they find alcohol being consumed in the vehicle, they must return passengers to their starting point or call parents to come and pick up minors.