Designated drivers win victory against Liberal government and ICBC

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Vancouver – The Christy Clark Liberals and ICBC have spent years fighting against coverage for designated drivers, all the while claiming they had the back of those who get their friends, families and co-workers home safely, said Adrian Dix, ICBC spokesperson for the New Democrat Official Opposition.

“This is another case of this premier saying one thing and doing exactly the opposite. While ICBC was running beautiful, whimsical ads praising designated drivers, it was in court fighting against providing those very drivers coverage,” noted Adrian Dix.

In July 2006, Marnetta Felix was driving her drunk boyfriend back to Chilliwack. As she driving on Highway 1, her passenger grabbed the wheel, causing her to lose control of the car. The vehicle rolled over killing the passenger and seriously injuring Ms. Felix.

Ms. Felix won a subsequent lawsuit and sought indemnification from ICBC for more than four years. ICBC fought her, and by extension coverage for all designated drivers in the Supreme Court of BC, the BC Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Canada.

As BC Supreme Court Justice Anthony Saunders noted in the earlier case, ICBC and the government’s position “would appear to be a powerful disincentive to anyone acting as a designated driver.”

After Ms. Felix won in the Court of Appeal, ICBC took the extra step of seeking leave to appeal in the Supreme Court of Canada. This past week, the Supreme Court denied ICBC’s leave to appeal. Meanwhile, Premier Clark and ICBC Minister Todd Stone professed concern and promised action, but utterly failed to keep their word.

“Clark’s mandate letter to Mr. Stone in 2014 instructed him to make improvements to coverage for designated drivers. Not only was nothing done, but Stone permitted ICBC to try to get the Court of Appeal judgment that ruled in favour of protecting designated drivers overturned,” said Dix.

“Fortunately, the Supreme Court has now denied the government’s attempt at an appeal, in spite of its efforts.

“This is good news for designated drivers and safety on our roads and a strong message to a government that has behaved poorly and wrongly,” concluded Dix.

A link to ICBC’s ad can be found here: