Under ICBC’s new Unlisted Driver Protection fee, drivers have the option of paying an extra $50 per year, which covers anyone who might drive their car and get in a crash.
Under the old policy, if someone gets in a crash behind the wheel of a borrowed car, it’s a blight on the owner’s record and could cause their insurance premiums to go up.
Attorney General David Eby said the changes should not be seen as punitive for designated drivers.
“If they declare who the person is in advance who is using their car, then there’s absolutely no fee at all,” Eby said.
“What we’re really trying to do is connect driver behaviour to insurance rates so that the drivers who are actually causing the accidents pay higher insurance and the drivers who aren’t don’t have that go on their record.”
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However, Bob Rorison of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Metro Vancouver said the policy change is complication and the confusion could be a deterrent.
“They (ICBC) have to give you the explicit knowledge of what they’re offering you to buy,” Rorison said. “You need to know what you’re buying and you need to know all the options.”
Eby said under the new system — and with or without this additional fee — drivers are still better off.
Ultimately, the choice still rests with the car’s owner to decide whether this is a fee they want to pay.
“I’m worried that it hasn’t come out adequately and I am concerned that the perception that there may be an impact might cause people to stop lending out their car,” Eby said.
The change wouldn’t take effect until 2019.
Rorison is hopeful ICBC will ensure designated drivers understand their options and potential consequences both with and without the fee.