Superintendent of Motor Vehicles Prohibitions (13:VIII)

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A. Reasons

1. Driver Improvement Program – Class 5 license

The driver improvement program is administered by the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles and allows the Superintendent to prohibit from driving anyone whose driving record is not satisfactory to the Superintendent.

Drivers are first issued with a Notice of Intent to Prohibit, informing them that their record is not satisfactory. Such notices may be issued for reasons including:

  • The Superintendent considers it in the public interest – for example, if you have a bad driving record
  • If you incur nine or more active penalty points on your record in a two year period, that is generally sufficient to trigger a notice of probation
  • Your driver’s license was suspended in another province or state
  • You haven’t provided the payment (referred to as damages) the court ordered you to pay for a vehicle accident in which you were the driver or vehicle owner
  • You have not taken the medical exam required by the Superintendent

If any further offences are recorded during the probation period, or within six months afterwards, the superintendent will likely issue a “Notice of Prohibition”. Drivers may either accept the prohibition by signing and returning the Notice of Prohibition, in which case the prohibition starts immediately, or the driver may make a written submission giving reasons why they should not be prohibited from driving.

The Driver Improvement Program appeal process is detailed below.

If the written submissions are not accepted, or an individual does not respond to a notice of intent to prohibit, they will be issued with a notice of prohibition. They must immediately sign the notice, surrender their driver’s license to ICBC, and not drive for the term of the prohibition.

For more information on the Driver Improvement Program, see the Road Safety BC website.

2. Driver Improvement Program – Class 7 license/ Novice Drivers

Novice drivers, including those in the “L” or “N” categories may be referred to the Driver Improvement Program with as little as 2 points on their record. As well, drivers in the graduated licensing program cannot exit the program (i.e. get a full, non-N, license) until 24 months after a prohibition.

The Driver Improvement Program appeal process is the same as detailed above.

3. Other Reasons for Prohibitions

The superintendent may prohibit you from driving for other reasons, including:

  • A failure to obtain automobile liability insurance;
  • Indebtedness to ICBC for reimbursement of money paid in respect of a claim; or
  • Indebtedness to the government for failure to pay fines.

B. Appeals

A person can apply for a review of a s 93(1)(a)(ii) driving prohibition under the Driver Improvement Program. The driver must within 21 days of receiving the notice of intent to prohibit, send in an application for review and written submissions as to why the driving prohibition should not be imposed or should be reduced. There is a $100 review fee that must be paid by way of a money order or certified cheque, or at any ICBC driver licensing office.

For more information on the Driver Improvement Program and guidelines, see the Road Safety BC website

The Superintendent is given discretion in determining which evidence they will consider in making the decision. A suspension cannot be quashed solely on the basis that the Superintendent did not consider certain relevant evidence (Motor Vehicle Act s 93(3)). The Motor Vehicle Act appears to permit the Superintendent to limit the period during which a license is suspended to certain times of the day or days of the week (Motor Vehicle Act s 25(12)(a)). An appeal of the Superintendent’s decision to uphold the driving prohibition must be made in the BC Supreme Court and occur within 30 days of the Decision (Motor Vehicle Act s 94(1)).

C. Automatic Prohibitions

A driver convicted of a Criminal Code motor vehicle offence is automatically prohibited from driving for a period of one year (Motor Vehicle Act s 99). The automatic prohibition also applies to some offences under the Motor Vehicle Act, including:

  • a) s 95: driving while prohibited by order of peace officer or Superintendent;
  • b) s 102: driving while prohibited by operation of law;
  • c) s 224: impaired driving; or
  • d) s 226(1): refusing to give a blood sample.

Under Motor Vehicle Act s 100(3), an individual who refuses to stop for a police officer will receive a two-year prohibition from driving if they are also convicted of one of the following Criminal Code offences:

  • a) s 220: criminal negligence causing death;
  • b) s 221: criminal negligence causing bodily injury;
  • c) s 236: manslaughter; or
  • d) s 320.13(1), (2), or (3): dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.
This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by the Law Students' Legal Advice Program on August 21, 2020.
© Copyright 2020, The Greater Vancouver Law Students' Legal Advice Society.

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