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Behind-the-Wheel

New drivers need to know, and follow, the rules

Driver's licence restrictions

My girls attend high school and, daily, I watch as many of the students fill their cars with friends while displaying the "N" reports a reader. The reader goes on to say they spoke to their girls about this and the girls said these young people just ignore that stipulation prohibiting this because no one checks and it is a nuisance being allowed to only carry one passenger.

These youths aren't making the connections when they have the "N" designation as to what they are doing and the consequences that will follow should they be involved in a collision.

Unfortunately, the reader is not telling me anything new—and it is not just youths who do it. It is the adults too.

I once stopped a woman who was driving with an "L". Her husband and two children in car seats were also in the car. Her licence restrictions allowed her only one passenger. I was able to extend my vocabulary with some of the words that were directed at me after I served that ticket.

When the Graduated Licensing Program debuted in B.C., police took the view that there should be little leeway given to new drivers so that they would learn quickly that failing to follow the rules had significant consequences, which really meant loss of their licence for a period of time. It was hoped that if they learned this at the start of their driving career, perhaps less correction would be needed later on.

Whether this policing attitude was prevalent or not, it soon became apparent that RoadSafetyBC was handing out a significant number of prohibitions.

New drivers face licence sanctions when they receive four to six penalty points and a moving violation, coupled with failing to display a new driver sign, puts them there with one traffic stop. That resulted in the creation of a charging section for failing to display the sign that carried no points.

Failing to follow other restrictions still results in three penalty points on conviction.

Is the system working? Maybe, but then there are multi-fatality crashes occurring. Had a driver followed the rules, perhaps there would have been fewer deaths, or even no collision as there would not have been an audience to perform for. Perhaps officers need to go back to issuing the three-point ticket for all restriction violations and refusing to let the vehicle proceed until all is in order. Short-term pain for long-term gain.

Parents have the biggest stake in the solution. The police cannot set the attitude at home and it is the responsibility of parents to see that young drivers follow all the rules. After all, they supply the permissions for both licences and vehicles until the youth reaches age 18.

B.C. Driver's Licence Restrictions

Code/description

06 Ignition Interlock Required

10 Operation of motorcycle allowed between sunrise and sunset only. No passengers permitted on motorcycle

11 Operation of motorcycle permitted only while under the direct supervision of an adult who holds a valid Class 6 driver’s licence. Maximum speed of 60 km/h

12 Daylight hours only

13 Class 6 or 8 not permitted to carry passengers

14 No Hwy 99 South of Vancouver or Hwy 1 East of Van or West of Hwy 9

15 Permitted to operate vehicles with air brakes

16 Not permitted to operate Class 2 or 4

17 Not permitted to operate buses

18 Permitted to operate single trucks with air brakes on industrial roads

19 Permitted to operate truck trailer with air brakes on industrial roads

20 Permitted to operate truck trailer of any GVW without air brakes

21 Corrective lenses required

22 *W* commercial class not qualified in USA

23 Hearing aid required

24 Class 6 or 8 restricted to motor scooters

25 Fitted prosthesis/leg brace required

26 Specified vehicle modifications required

28 Restricted to automatic transmission

35 Not permitted to exceed 60 km/h

36 Not permitted to exceed 80 km/h

38 Class 8L motorcycle learner licence restriction

39 GLP – Qualified supervisor age 25+ required, 1 passenger limit

43 GLP - Class 7 Learner's Licence. Restricted to 5 am to midnight only

45 GLP - 1 passenger unless supervisor age 25+. Family exempt

46 GLP - 0 BAC/BDC; Must display *L* Sign; no electronic device use

47 GLP - 0 BAC/BDC; Must display *N* Sign; no electronic device use

51 May be either a restriction or an endorsement. Follow the specific criteria written on your licence.



More Behind the Wheel articles

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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

To comment, please email

To learn more, visit DriveSmartBC



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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