Driving school

The DriveWise driving school installs video cameras in all its vehicles

A Vancouver Island driving school has installed video cameras inside all of its vehicles following recent allegations of sexual assault against the owner of another driving school.

DriveWise BC announced on Wednesday that all of their vehicles on Vancouver Island now have indoor cameras as well as a fleet management system.

The new on-board cameras – currently in use at all locations on Vancouver Island and will be in use at all other DriveWise BC locations in the near future – record the student driver and instructor as well as the entire vehicle environment. by blurring the number plates and faces of people outside the vehicle.

“The cameras are very small, they don’t bother anyone,” Kate Harris, owner of DriveWise BC, told CHEK News Wednesday. “They automatically register the instructor and the student inside the vehicle.”

DriveWise’s decision to install the cameras comes after a wave of sexual assault allegations and accusations of inappropriate behavior against Victoria’s driving instructor, Steve Wallace, owner of Wallace Driving School.

“It just gave us the idea that we need to review our policies and procedures and we came to the conclusion that we had provided a very safe environment, but we could go beyond adding video surveillance,” Harris said, adding that the cameras offer increased transparency in an “already safe” environment.

ICBC suspended Wallace’s driving instructor license and police recommended that the Crown charge him with three counts of sexual assault. However, despite early local media reports, Wallace was not arrested.

“We support women who come forward – their courage to come forward – and we’re doing what we can here at DriveWise to make sure students feel safe in all of our driving lessons,” Harris said.

DriveWise instructors have given their consent to have cameras inside the vehicles while the students give their consent when entering the vehicle. Harris said the cost of installing the cameras was huge for the company, but it would be well worth it.

“Video cameras came out of some concerns about safety protocols in the driver training industry and we felt we needed to do something beyond what we already had in place and the cameras are doing just that. “said Harris.

Dashcams can be used by driving schools in British Columbia, but only if they obtain the consent of those who will be filmed – the province’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) requires organizations to provide such notice.

“Internal dashcams can be PIPA compliant if all people consent to their use before their personal information is collected by CCTV,” Michelle Mitchell, senior communications officer at the Information Commissioner’s Office and CCTV, told CHEK. protection of privacy (ICPO). News an e-mail statement.

These measures include the student’s written consent for the recording and electronic collection of their personal course data, the student’s written consent for any other use of their personal data, such as in an instructional video or testimonial. In addition, cameras should have a clearly visible indicator indicating when a recording system is active.

Driving schools that do not follow these guidelines may be investigated by the ICPO, but only if someone files a complaint.

“When a complaint reaches our office, one of our investigators will attempt to negotiate that complaint, and if mediation is not possible, the matter can be referred to our adjudication team who will then write a legally binding order. on the matter, ”Mitchell said.

Editor’s note: None of the charges against Wallace have been proven in court.

RELATED: ICBC Suspends Steve Wallace’s Driving Instructor License As Police Recommend Sexual Assault Charges