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ICBC rejects claim drivers coming from Lower Mainland to take road tests

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
December 8th, 2020

The Insurance Cooperation of BC (ICBC) said a concern that numerous drivers are traveling from outside the region to Nelson during COVID-19 pandemic to take road tests is false.

The claim was made to The Nelson Daily by a reader working close with driver examimers who did not want to be identified. The reader said drivers looking to take road tests are booking appointments online in cities outside the Lower Mainland due to the backlog of bookings from the COVID-19 lockdown in the spring.

The reader said ICBC will not stop the practice, even though BC Public Health has asked people not to travel outside their cities.

“ICBC will not stop because they call (road tests) an essential service,” the reader told The Nelson Daily. “But with the provincial travel ban now on, ICBC doesn’t seem to care.”

An ICBC spokesperson said the corporation has reviewed the road test taken during November, and found that only five of the 82 tests were taken by drivers with a Lower Mainland address.

“Throughout this pandemic, British Columbians have relied on the essential public services that ICBC provides on behalf of government, such as issuing licenses and health care cards,” the ICBC spokesperson said. 

“For practical and safety reasons, we strongly encourage customers to test where they live. ICBC has taken a number of steps to address the demand for testing in the Lower Mainland and Southern Vancouver Island.”

The backlog of bookings from the COVID-19 lockdown in the spring has forced drivers to travel the province to take road tests. 

To deal with the backlog, ICBC said the company has hired an additional 100 temporary driver examiners, expanded testing services to 10 additional locations, and some of our examiners in the impacted regions are working overtime.

ICBC is also encouraging customers that have already booked a road test appointment but are looking to secure an earlier road test date to visit ICBC's online booking site.

On average, ICBC said, 100 appointments are made available daily due to cancellations and resourcing availability.

“All our offices remain open and safe,” ICBC said.

“As an essential service, we’ll continue to provide the same services we have been, while keeping the health and safety of our customers and employees the top priority.”

However, The Nelson Daily reader is concerned these people driver from high contact areas in the Fraser Valley and Vancouver regions, use overnight accommodation, eat, shop then travel back to the Lower Mainland the next day.

The Nelson Daily reader said these people, who could be “super spreaders” of the coronavirus also stop for fuel and food both ways.

The drivers also come into contact with CSR’s and driver’s examiners as well as other people standing in line in the Service BC office.

“If it’s a provincial travel ban, then ICBC should not be exempt.”

ICBC said it has implemented a number of safety measures in accordance with the guidelines set out by the Provincial Health Officer and WorkSafeBC.

For example ICBC has:

  • enhanced our cleaning, reconfigured offices to maintain proper physical distancing, installed Plexiglas at kiosks and service desks, and we are offering more customer services by phone or online to help ensure their safety.
  • Masks are mandatory for all customers when visiting an ICBC office.
  • Masks are mandatory for all employees in common areas and recommended when employees are at their workstation behind Plexiglas.

When it comes to road tests, ICBC said customers are asked a series of health screening questions and provided with a mandatory medical-grade mask to wear for the duration of the road test.

ICBC said driver examiners wear personal protective equipment (PPE) during these tests, which can include a combination of masks, shields, goggles, gloves and the use of disposable seat covers.

If people must travel for driver licensing services, ICBC strongly encourages everyone to take the same COVID-19 precautions that they do at home including:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Practice safe distancing, 2 meters 
  • Travel only with yourself, household or pandemic bubble
  • Stick to the outdoors whenever possible
  • Clean spaces often
  • Wear a mask in indoor spaces

Categories: General

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