Drivers can be fined for non-essential travel on certain BC highways

Nov 23 2021, 10:33 pm

Non-essential travel on certain BC highways could lead to a hefty fine for drivers.

That’s the message from the RCMP’s BC Highway Patrol as a reminder that some provincial highways are only open on a limited basis.

Last week, the provincial government announced new travel restrictions to keep drivers off damaged highways while assessment and repairs are underway.

At a live news conference, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said that drivers should only be on the road to transport essential goods such as food, water, fuel, and medical or agricultural supplies. Impacted highways include Highway 99, Highway 7, and Highway 3.

BC Highway Patrol says that “road checks are in place on all affected highways, and you may be turned back if your travel is not essential.”

Drivers who fail to comply with travel restrictions, disobey the direction of a police officer, fail to stop or provide information, or are belligerent or abusive to an official can face fines starting at $230 per offence.

“If we all work together, it will serve to get supplies to those in urgent need and allow the rebuilding of our important highway network,” says Chief Superintendent Holly Turton in a statement.

“Please be safe and follow the direction of police officers and traffic control personnel who are doing their job to keep all motorists safe.”

What qualifies as essential travel?

Here is a complete list of reasons that qualify as essential travel and are exempt from the order:

  • Commercially transporting goods
  • Transporting food, water, fuel, gasoline, personal hygiene, sanitation, and cleaning products, or healthcare and pharmaceutical supplies
  • Transporting livestock, agricultural, or seafood products/supplies
  • Responding to emergencies, including search and rescue
  • Evacuations
  • Urgent medical treatment
  • Highway repair or maintenance
  • Transporting essential personnel
  • Returning to a person’s own principal residence
  • Indigenous people exercising treaty rights

With files from Megan Devlin

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