The recent arrest of a Whitehorse taxi driver for drunk driving has raised concerns about what can be done to keep impaired cab drivers off the road.
A taxi driver was arrested on Dec. 1 after passengers reported the driver to police, said Sgt. Don Rogers of the Whitehorse RCMP. The driver was released with the promise to appear in court, he said. The driver faces charges of impaired driving, dangerous driving, and driving with a blood alcohol level of over 0.08.
And there’s nothing more the RCMP can do to keep him from driving.
“We did it already,” he said when asked what they can do. “We got an impaired driver off the road.”
Under the Motor Vehicles Act, a person suspected of driving while impaired is given a temporary licence for 14 days. That means this driver can still drive until Dec. 15.
Once the 14 days is over, he can’t drive in the territory for 90 days or until he is convicted, whichever is shorter. He could be allowed to drive earlier, if he appeals the charges and the appeal is successful.
And the city can’t force the driver off the road, either.
Under the Vehicles For Hire Bylaw, taxi drivers can only be banned from driving cabs once they’ve been convicted, said Dave Pruden, manager of bylaw services. If convicted, a driver is banned from driving a cab in the city for life, he said.
Companies are required to tell the city when they make staffing changes, but do not have to say why the changes have been made, he said.
This incident is “not something that is typical,” said Pruden. In 18 years of working for the city, he has never heard of a cab driver being convicted for impaired driving, he said.
Sgt. Rogers has also never seen it happen in Whitehorse, although he has seen it happen in other jurisdictions, he said.
This shows how weak the city’s bylaw is, said Ken Giam, owner of Premier Cabs. Whitehorse’s cab companies should form an association so they can enforce stricter rules about whom they hire, he said.
Contact Meagan Gillmore at