Mother warns about lending car

Penticton mother has a cautionary tale to share with other parents who let their kids use the family car.

Natalie Leffler looks at the Honda Civic which used to be her only means of transportation

Natalie Leffler looks at the Honda Civic which used to be her only means of transportation

After spending 30 days without wheels, a Penticton mother has a cautionary tale to share with other parents who let their kids use the family car.

Natalie Leffler’s 1997 Honda Civic was permanently decommissioned on June 10 when her 20-year-old daughter crashed it into a concrete barrier on Marina Way. Three other people were in the car, but no one was hurt.

“I am the forgiving type,” said Leffler, “but I flipped that day. I really, really flipped.”

Forgiveness was tough, since the daughter was impaired at the time of the crash and subsequently had her licence suspended for 90 days.

That carried with it a mandatory 30-day impoundment of the car, even though the vehicle is registered in her mom’s name.

Leffler appealed to the B.C. Superintendent of Motor Vehicles for early release, since she needs the car to attend medical appointments, but was denied.

“I’m a prisoner in my own home,” said Leffler, whose ailments include arthritis, fibromyalgia and asthma.

Thankfully, she had optional collision insurance on the car, and because she had no knowledge the driver was drunk, will still receive a $2,800 payout to put towards the purchase of a new vehicle, even though her daughter was at fault.

“If you’re having anybody else driving your car — even if it’s yourself, actually — have that. You never know,” she said.

Amid concerns about what kind of replacement car she can buy for $2,800, Leffler is also angry that only her  daughter is on the hook for repaying ICBC, plus the $625 in towing, storage and impoundment fees and other out-of-pocket expenses like cab fares. As she sees it, the other three young adults in the car should share the pain.

“They’re all in it together, they’re all one-quarter responsible. If they had any decent kind of upbringing, they would ‘fess up and offer,” said Leffler, who’s considering action in small claims court.

“What really, really, really gets to me is that aside from my daughter — who has shown tremendous remorse and she’s trying to make amends — none of those kids so much as offered an apology to me.”

She noted she could have asked police to charge the bunch with theft, but elected not to.

“I didn’t want to screw them up and give them a criminal record, so I give them a break here and this is what I get.”

Leffler would appreciate hearing from anyone who has a reasonably priced, reliable car for sale.

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