Q&A - Can Dad Drive in the US?

older driver and carQuestion: My 89 year old father voluntarily restricted his driver's license after an at fault single vehicle accident 5 years ago. He is now limited to local driving only. While recently vacationing in Washington State he asked “can I drive here?” I wasn’t sure as lives in Lillooet B.C.

Unfortunately I didn’t look at his drivers license to check if he was restricted to 50 kmh. As I am writing this I wonder if he interpreted 50 kmh as local driving.

I will be visiting him in the near future and will check his license. In the meantime I would appreciate your comments on this.

Answer: In British Columbia, it is an offence to operate a motor vehicle contrary to the conditions stated on your driver's licence.

25 (15) A person who violates a requirement, restriction or condition prescribed under this section in respect of the person's driver's licence or who violates a restriction or condition stated in, endorsed on or attached to a driver's licence issued to the person under this section commits an offence.

When you say local driving only, I'm guessing that he is restricted to driving within a certain distance of his home, as this is what I am used to seeing. It is also possible to be subjected to a maximum speed, regardless of the fact that the posted speed might be higher. The only way to know for sure about any of this is to read the conditions listed on the back of the driver's licence.

Other Provinces (Section 51 (c) of the Alberta Traffic Safety Act)  and States (RCW 46.20.041 (5) in Washington State) to have similar legislation. If so, this would mean that he would be in contravention of the law there should he drive contrary to his licence conditions.

If a driver was operating a vehicle in contravention of their BC License Restrictions - be it a requirement to display an L or N, or to wear corrective lenses, or one of the specific though variable Section 51 restrictions - could this potentially nullify their ICBC coverage if they fail to follow these conditions? 

Section 55(1) of the Insurance (Vehicle) Regulations outlines breaches of ICBC coverage.  There are many as one can expect with any and all insurance companies.

Subsection (3) details some particular breaches such as a driver is in breach if ""not authorized and qualified by law to operate the vehicle", or using a vehicle "for an illicit or prohibited trade or transportation", "escape or avoid arrest or other similar police action" or "a race or speed test"

Ironically it goes on the mention in Subsection (3.1) acts that are NOT breaches, and includes such things as not having an adult supervisor for a "L" DL, or not displaying an "N" or "L"

Unlike, perhaps some auto insurance companies ICBC isn't as strict as you might think.  For example if you've forgotten to renew your license you were driving and have an at fault incident and there is NO REASON that your DL can't be renewed such as a debt, ICBC will give you 10 days to renew it.

For some "light" reading : https://www.bclaws.gov.bc.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/447_83_…