What is the Responsible Driver Program?

A significant problem facing you if you have been issued a 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP), a 90-day Administrative Roadside Prohibition (ADP) or a Criminal Code conviction for drinking and driving is the certainty of having to complete the Responsible Driver Program if the prohibition is upheld.

The Responsible Driver Program (RDP) is a remedial course drivers with certain drinking-driving notations on their driving record are required to take under the Motor Vehicle ActRoadSafetyBC refers drivers to the program when they accumulate a minimum of six remedial program points within a five-year window. All 90-day IRPs, 90-day ADPs and criminal code convictions carry a penalty of six remedial program points, so if you receive one of these, you will automatically be required to take the RDP. The Superintendent of Motor Vehicles may also decide it is in the public interest to have a driver complete the course after examining their driving record, their skills, fitness and ability to drive.

The RDP doesn’t come cheap. Participants will have to fork out $930 ($905 plus GST) to the service provider for BC, Stroh Health Care, to pay for the program.

Know the risks involved in an RDP

Be warned: the RDP is more than a hoop you have to jump through in order to get your licence back. Many people going into the course do not know what to expect or the risks involved. Not informing yourself could be a huge mistake because you may find it leaves you in a worse position than when you started.

According to the BC Government website, “Upon completion of the program, basic attendance information and program results will be sent to RoadSafetyBC.” So people should be aware, the meetings are not private and some “basic” information will be shared with other parties.

It is important to remember that in BC completion of a rehabilitation program can be made a condition of your licence so if you do not complete the course, you will not be allowed back on the road.

There is a significant risk that you could be referred to another remedial course, the Ignition Interlock Program, on the basis of the report from Stroh Health Care. An ignition interlock is a device installed in a vehicle that the driver must blow into before starting the engine. The interlock detects alcohol on the motorist’s breath and if it detects any alcohol, it will prevent the car from starting.

The ignition interlock system is very costly. There is a monitoring fee of $2.67 per day so if you were mandated to have the device for 24 months, you would have to pay nearly $2,000. Other fees associated with the program, not including GST and PST, are:

  • $145 for installation and training on the device
  • $50 removal fee at the end of the program
  • $188 early removal fee (by choice or by administrator’s decision)
  • $105 one-time administration fee

Successfully defending your drinking case is the only path to avoiding the RDP requirement

Having to attend a Responsible Driver Program can be very stressful, not to mention costly both in terms of your time and money. If you have been issued a 90-day IRP, 90-day ADP or a criminal drinking-driving charge, you will be required to take the RDP, unless you succeed in challenging the allegation. That is why you should seek professional help first.

The Superintendent of Motor Vehicles regularly refers drivers to the Responsible Driver Program. The cost of the course is often only the beginning of the bills participants face as the program can lead to further expenses such as being obliged to take part in the Ignition Interlock Program. At Acumen Law Corporation, our lawyers have saved BC drivers from having to take the course thousands of times.

If you are facing the prospect of taking an RDP, call us for a free consultation.

Next week we will be looking at negotiating the Responsible Driver Program and some of the mistakes participants make that land them in more trouble.

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