Recently the BC government made changes to the Motor Vehicle Act that came into effect September 20, 2010. There is a lot of jargon related to penalty points, insurance premiums and driver risk premiums. But what does this all mean?
If you receive a violation ticket in BC – and the violation list is quite long — there are three things that can happen:
- A fine is imposed; ranging from $81 to $2,300;
- ICBC penalty points will be awarded (not the kind you want!);
- In certain circumstances a license suspension, driving prohibitions or vehicle impoundments could be imposed.
The interesting thing is that for some infractions such as failing to display a L or N; illegal possession of a driver’s license; driving without insurance or permitting a passenger to be without a seatbelt will net you a fine but no ICBC driver penalty points.
However, if you drive over newly painted lines you will get a two point penalty; or if you create unnecessary noise –ding, that is three points. How does that make any sense? A person who knowingly drives a car with no insurance does not get any driver penalty points? A noisy motorbike is very annoying but hardly life threatening.
Point infractions are two, three, or ten driver penalty points. If you receive more than three points during the “assessment period,” you must pay a driver penalty point premium. This is in addition to the fine paid for the infraction. If you receive three points or more in a 12-month period (basically your insurance policy cycle), you will have to pay. Minimum payment is $175 for four points up to $24,000 for 50 points.
If a driver receives two speeding tickets in a year, total fines and driver penalty point premium from ICBC will add up to a minimum of $576. That’s a lot of cash. I can see the need for penalties when speeding in school zones and other high-risk accident places, but what about five kilometres over the speed limit on the highway? When speed limits are posted at 80 km/hour on a three lane highway, going 85 km/hr probably isn’t going to make a difference. But it is breaking the law.
For dangerous drivers there is also the Driver Risk Premium (DPR). DPRs apply to criminal code convictions, ten point MVA convictions and excessive speed convictions as well as two or more roadside suspensions. These premiums are separate from ICBC Autoplan and are billed to a driver even if they don’t own a car or have insurance. These premiums range from about $320 to $24,000.
ICBC expects over 20,000 people in 2010 will have to pay Driver Risk Premiums. That is a lot of dangerous driving.