New Driver Licence Restrictions

image of New Driver Signs one of the required restrictions in the GLP ProgramB.C.'s Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) was implemented to develop driving skills in a safe, step by step manner. Today, they are a widely accepted, effective safety measure. The system of restrictions that have been evaluated have been found to be very effective in reducing crashes and injuries, and public acceptance is high.

Learner Driver Restrictions

In the beginning a driver earns a Learner Driver licence that is subject to a set of restrictions that mandates the presence of an instructor and sets passenger limits to reduce the possibility of distractions. There are hours of the day restrictions as well, although midnight to 5:00 am is probably a time when most of them are sound asleep by personal choice.

Novice Driver Restrictions

After a year of practice with a supervisor and passing a road test the GLP Learner becomes a Novice and restrictions are relaxed in comparison to the Learner. A passenger restriction of one person applies unless the Novice is accompanied by an instructor.

Restrictions for Learners and Novices

In the case of both the Learner and the Novice restrictions of zero blood alcohol, prohibition on the use of electronic devices while driving and the requirement to display a new driver sign apply.

Restrictions May be Applied to Any Driver

After passing another road test, the successful Novice will be issued a full privilege driver's licence. Of course, any driver may be the subject of restrictions if there is a need for them. Examples of these restrictions include such things a the requirement to wear corrective lenses or to be fitted with a prosthesis or leg brace.

More information on restrictions that apply to all drivers are found here.

Enforcing Licence Restrictions

At the onset of the GLP program new drivers who disobeyed any of the restrictions were ticketed under section 25(15) of the Motor Vehicle Act. A conviction carried both a fine and penalty points.

As new drivers are subject to lower thresholds for prohibition from accumulated penalty points there was soon a large number of new drivers who had lost their licences for failing to display new driver signs. The solution was to implement division 30.13 and later division 30.10 in the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations which did not result in penalty points for failing to display, only fines.

Police were encouraged to use the new regulation for driver sign violators instead of section 25(15).

New Driver Signs

Of B.C.'s 3.3 million licensed drivers, over a quarter million of them are Learner or Novice drivers. That's about 1 in 12. I suspect that we should be seeing more new driver signs displayed on vehicles around us as we drive.

Of course that depends on who you ask. There are many opinions about the display of new driver signs, including some well qualified people who feel that the N sign should not be required.

This article was actually prompted by the inquiry from a friend whose teenaged daughter asked him for permission to ride with friends contrary to their licence restrictions. He refused to give her permission and began to search for what the repercussions would be if she did not follow the rules thinking that they would be serious ones.

Really, the worst thing that can happen aside from a ticket under 25(15) for the driver is having the police prohibit the driver from proceeding until licence conditions are met. He could receive a telephone summons to come and pick up his daughter from the side of the highway.

Many of our problems on the highway result from people who treat the rules as something to follow as long as it is convenient. If it isn't convenient, they do as they please. Sadly, this lesson is one that is passed down easily and followed without further thought by new drivers.

Learn More

Share This Article

Interesting topic.

The downside of the L program, is the lack of stringent requirements placed on the accompanying adult.  The average person would expect that the accompanying adult, in addition to being required to have a valid driver's license of the correct class, and being of the correct age (25 years old), and occupying the seat beside the driver, should be monitoring the driving of the learner, be sober, or for that matter awake.  None of the last three are requirments.  As long as the accompanying adult is sleeping in the seat next to the driver, all is well.

I guess you can't blame the average person, when you consider an on duty RCMP member issued an IRP to an intoxicated accompanying adult.  Later to find out the accompanying adult was doing absolutely nothing illegal, by accompanying his sober L holding grandson.

I guess that's why the MVA describes the person with the learner as "the accompanying adult", and not the "supervising adult".

How many out there are surprised that the accompanying adult doesn't have to be sober ?  or even awake ??

Couple of years after this was implemented I read a report done by ICBC that new drivers under this program that were taught by a parent or friend had a lower accident rate than those that went through an accredited school with professional instructors.

Does our moderator have any statistics on this?

I've spent a bit of time searching and was not able to find anything useful. I seem to recall something about this myself, but the connection between training and crash rate was not as simple as you state.

In reply to by DriveSmartBC

I can't find the original article that I read. However from a report titled "Graduated Licensing: Year 6 evaluation report" published in 2006 if you go to page 88 stats regarding drivers training and non drivers training start.

As it points out and I do not know if it still exists but if a learner took an approved course they could receive their Novice licence sooner. This may account for some of the difference although it points out that in other countries that have a GLP the stats are the same. Conversely learners that have taken an approved course have a higher rate of passing the driving section of the exam on the first try. Now could this be a bias on the examiners? Who knows. The accident rate definitely points towards a bias that is letting people that are not ready to move on become Novice drivers.

Unfortunately for the safety of your new drivers it does point that you are better off teaching them yourself than sending them to an approved driving school. Sad comment regarding our provincial driving schools.

I have some thoughts here just don't feel like getting tarred and feathered today:)


In reply to by DriveSmartBC

Changes in Crash Rates for those taking Driver Training

Ontario and Nova Scotia are the only jurisdiction besides BC that have included an analysis of crashes for drivers who completed approved driver training.

Ontario reported a 44% increase in crashes for Novice drivers who completed approved driver training compared to those who did not. In Nova Scotia, Novice drivers who took driver education were reported to have a 20%higher crash rate during their first year of unsupervised driving.. Like BC, Ontario and Nova Scotia offered time incentive to drivers completed an approved driver education course. In Ontario, where the Learner stage is 12months, drivers who completed driver education were eligible for a time discount of up to 4 months; in Nova Scotia, with its 6-month Learner stage, drivers could get a time discount of up to 3 months. This is the same provision that is available in BC. As reported in the Year 3 Evaluation, Novice drivers who completed the ICBC- approved course and submitted a DOC had crash rates during their first year of driving that were 26% higher than drivers who did not submit a DOC. This observed increase is consistent with those reported in both Ontario and Nova Scotia. In summarizing the results obtained in Nova Scotia, Mayhew and Simpson (2002) concluded that“the three-month ‘time discount’ offered for driver education provided no safety benefits” (p.1).

Personally I do not support graduated licensing. People that live in rural communities are the ones that pay the price. When I turned 16 I got my license that day relieving my parents from having to chauffeur me to school events etc. Many parents are looking at 60 to 120K+  trips each way.  I remember one family with 2 boys that both played hockey. With the age difference it meant one with an early evening practice the other late. They also hauled 3 other boys with them whose parents were unable to do so. As they joked about it every hockey season they separated. Happiest day in their lives was when their oldest son turned 16.

I also believe that kids in rural communities have greater respect for their license. It is their ticket to freedom and for that reason do not want to do anything that jeopardizes it.

With the graduated system they have graduated before they graduate to a full license. Which means kids from rural areas cannot "Car Pool", which is something the environmentalist push for. In my home community a 16 year old cannot drive themselves to a after school job. Even at 17 or 18 3 or more cannot legally drive to and from work.

The idea has it merits for sure. On the other hand it puts kids that do not live in major cities with regular bus service at an inconvenience.

My5cemts comments regarding the accompanying adult is from a case out of Sicamous. I cannot recall or even if I ever heard what the grandfather blew for a breath reading. One may say the grandfather should have known better but with the .05 roadside suspensions no one wants to take the chance of driving after just a couple of drinks. Again rural area what would have been the cost of a taxi home? So you have a grandson that probably has been driving around the family property and back roads for a few years and is a good driver. To me it makes sense to have the sober one drive home. Prior to the GLP he would have been a fully licensed driver.

I see it all the time in this forum where one makes a comment regarding rural living and you get jumped on by people that live in cities. Conditions are entirely different. Jumping to politics which is a big jump but take a look where the NDP/Greens got their seats. We live on the resource industry and believe it or not a big portion of the wealth even in Vancouver comes from servicing that resource industry. Yet as it is in politics rules of the road are dictated to by the ones that live in the city. GLP excellent idea for there where transit is an option where there is no transit it just adds to the cost of raising kids.

I think we may be looking at the "Thin Edge of the Wedge" though by eliminating the points for non display of the N / L .

If there was a valid reason for the regulation to display them, then regs should be enforced, not deleted because too many drivers are being "caught", and it is considered a hardship.

I thought points are suppose to level the field by being an all inclusive deterrent, (Rich / poor, young /old) : everyone is supposed to be treated equally.

I have heard novice drivers brag to their friends that they never display the signs, as it is an embarrassment to them. So they deliberately defy the regulations, for their own benefit.

The "N" drivers who display the "N" sideways as a "Z" , are similarly showing their defiance of authority. Just what we need : defiant novice drivers on the roads.

On the other hand : I think some people may take them off other people's vehicles as a prank, so points may be overly punitive on an innocent driver. They could discipline themselves to pop the letter sign in the trunk, and put it back before they drive.

Driving is all about disciple, so this could be a place to start, rather than by removing valid regs.