Driving companies from the designated driver industry have reacted to new regulations to the industry and said they may lead to an increase in drunk drivers on the road in Oshawa.
A new bylaw, set to come into effect in 2017, places a number of requirements on drivers employed by the companies, who have said that the changes are unnecessary and will make it harder to find drivers.
The new regulations stipulate that drivers need to be at least 25 years old, affiliated with a licensed designated driving broker, and have a “G” driver’s license.
Drivers must also provide a Criminal Information Report with Vulnerable Sector Screening, a driver’s abstract (record), and a city-approved medical clearance letter.
A planned requirement for an insurance policy was pushed back after difficulties trying to find an appropriate policy, the mayor said, and would be postponed until August or September of 2017 pending more research.
Sharon Carswell, owner of DD4U, a designated driving company in Durham Region, told the Toronto Star
: “You better have more police out there because there will be a lot more people on the road who have been drinking,” Carswell said. “That scares me as an Oshawa city resident too.”
Carswell, who also runs an organization of six or seven designated driving companies called the DD Alliance, said that it is a struggle to find drivers, and the new rules are “scaring the ones that are already doing it.”
She said the types of people driving for her and the number of nights they work varies, from retirees working a few weekdays to people with full-time jobs working on their weekends.
Carswell said she knows of about eight companies operating in the region of Durham, which includes Oshawa, who are considering leaving the area altogether.
Donna Sabo, owner of designated driving service You Drink We Drive, said 90% of her drivers have said they won’t file for the license.
Sabo told the Star:
“There are nights drivers who only make $30 or $40 and they’re out there for 12 hours because it’s a slow night. I said to city council ‘Would any of you work for 12 hours for $30 or $40?... And they pay their own gas and then you want to put all these other regulations on them.”
However, city officials say they are only looking to make sure the services are safe to use.
Oshawa mayor John Henry said the idea to regulate the companies was actually brought to the city by a designated driving company a number of years ago, adding that the goal is to ensure that Oshawa residents “are safe getting home at the end of the day.”
Henry also said that he was “sorry” about a potential loss of drivers but he believes that new ones can be acquired, the report said.
“I think for those companies that are out there that capitalize on this and become registered designated driving services and follow all the rules, the opportunity to fill in those spaces will exist,” Henry said.
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