VIEWPOINT - From the Other Side

SoapboxI am about to start driving again and I thought it would be a good idea to keep myself up to date with current events and the rules of the road. I shamefully regret to tell you that two years ago I got a ticket for dui.  Thankfully, i didnt hurt anyone and i wasnt in an accident however, that doesnt excuse the fact that I dis it and had I was gicen a great big fimne, car was impounded, and of course licence was taken away. My freedom was gone and it really sucked. But it gave me a lot of time to think about my actions and think about everything i lost (including my job) d/t not having a valid drivers licence. I will NEVER do that again! Never ever...infact I havent drank in just over a year now.

About a year after losing my licence I was in a car accident. I had asked this young aquaintence to give me a ride to vancouver from port coquitlam. A friend of mine jumped into the back seat and the three of us were on our way. We were driving down lougheed highway when I talking to my friend in the back seat when suddenly I turn my head. see the yellow light and we drive directly into the back end of another car that was turning left. It was a tremendous impact. All I remember was being pinned to my seat. People running upto car and me asking if everyone was ok. The driver was ok but Tom wasnt responsive. I began to scream his name over and over and told him he better not die on me. I remember seeing out of the corner of my eye him pick his head and body up from the back seat. The ambulance attendants were now there and they told him not to move and shortly after we were all off to the hospital. Tom suffered brain damage and the family pulled the plug on him 2 days later. The nurse told me the first night that he has zero brain activity. I was devistated and have been trying to recover ever since.

I later learned that the young guy driving the vehicle we were in didnt have any brakes at all. I remember asking him why he was gearing down when he was driving an automatic and if he wanted to shift gears he ahould buy a standard. I now know he was gearing down and using the ebrake to stop the car. Had i known he had no brakes i would have never asked for a ride to vancouver and i feel that if he had brakes he could have easily missed gitting the other car. I have learned how important it is to have a clear mind and a safe vehicle to drive if a bperson decides to be on the road driving. These last two years for me have been very impacting. I went from having the dream job of my life a nursing supervisor who drove and saw clients all over the city for work to being at home , depressed and on disability. There isnt a day go bye that i dont think about that. I hope to have it back again..

Its been a long process but im coming around. My psycholigist who is helping me with PTSD relating to the accident advises I start driving again and that its an important part of my therapy. Over the last year I have been paying off outstanding debt and fees with icbc and tickets in order to get my licence back.  In order for me to obtain my licence I am required to take the safe drivers program that costs nearly $1000. I have managed to pay off my debts but now face this last requirement. I understand I can write a letter for reconsideration however, I was told there is an 11month wait list for the letter to be reviewed.  If I were to wait the 11months, I would have to take the driving exam again plus it would be debtramental to my therapy and recovery process.

I am wondering if you know of any other options that may be available for me? Is there a way to have my letter or story viewed before 11 monhs for reconsideration? Or is there a payment plan option that will allow me to drive with only a portion of it payed? I feel I am ready to drive but I am faced with this $900 and something dollar requirement that I cant afford to pay off in one lump sum.  I would love to do volunteer work to work off the cost of the course. Anything. I appreciate and thoughts or ideas that may help me get back on the road sooner than later.

Thanks for talking the time to read this as it is very personal and difficult for me to share. Its actually the first time ive written out the story...also part of my therapy that I have been avoiding to do and it just dawned on me, its probably is why I havent been able to write the letter sooner and ask for a reconsideration.

Comments

Answer

I know that ICBC won't reinstate your driver's licence until after you have completed the Responsible Driver Program through Stroh Healthcare. I really don't know if there is any way around it at all or of having the course fee reduced. You can have the requirement reviewed:

http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/osmv/improvement/responsible-driver.htm

but again, I have never heard anything about these reviews so I don't know how successful you might be. Perhaps someone with knowledge will post a response.

Two separate issues, I think.

On the one hand, you have the consequences of your impaired charge to deal with; I can't think of any way to get around this or mitigate the fines, etc.  But in this case, it's essentially you vs. ICBC/Justice System.  Have you at least asked for a meeting with a knowledgeable representative from ICBC for councelling/advice (whatever the best word is) on the issue?  Someone who can explain your options, such as they are?

Now, entirely separately and almost coincidentally if you see what I mean, you are the victim of a traffic crash that was absolutely no fault of your own.  As a victim, you should be 'covered' by ICBC as an insurer; even if the young fool driving the defective vehicle didn't actually have insurance, Under Insured Motorist Protection is built into the system.

This insurance coverage should provide you with whatever therapy is necessary to help you recover, including the PTSD and related driver training/rehabilitation you require.  Have you explored this?  If you're looking for advice and/or information, I suggest you contact Community Therapists - I used to do contract work for them on Driver Assessments and rehabilitative training and would strongly endorse them, they do remarkable work.

Best of luck, that's a tough time that you have been through. 

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