The Points System and ICBC
The Dial-A-Law library is prepared by lawyers and gives practical information on many areas of law in British Columbia. Script 187 gives general information only, not legal advice. If you have a legal problem or need legal advice, you should speak to a lawyer. For the name of a lawyer to consult, call Lawyer Referral at 604.687.3221 in the lower mainland or 1.800.663.1919 elsewhere in British Columbia.
This script explains driver penalty points and how they relate to the new driver risk premiums charged by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (called ICBC).
What are driver penalty points?
When you receive a traffic or violation ticket for speeding or some other driving offence under the BC Motor Vehicle Act, you normally get points on your driver’s record. You also get points for certain Criminal Code offences like impaired driving, criminal negligence, and failure to remain at the scene of an accident. Driver penalty points are like black marks on your driving record.
When are points added to your record?
Points are added to your record if you plead guilty to a driving offence or if a court convicts you of the offence. If you pay a traffic ticket, you’re admitting that you are guilty, so if you don’t agree with a ticket, you must fight (or dispute) it. You have 30 days from the date of the ticket to dispute it. If you don’t do so, the offence and points are automatically added to your driving record. Check script 194 called “Traffic Tickets” for more information on how to fight a traffic ticket.
How many points do you get?
It depends on what the ticket is for. Most traffic tickets are for 2 or 3 points. All speeding tickets are worth 3 points.
What is the driver penalty point (DPP) premium?
Each year, ICBC looks at your record of driver penalty points and bills you a driver penalty point (or DPP) premium. The bill is sent 4 weeks before your birthday. The DPP premium depends on the total number of points you get in a 12-month period, called the assessment period. ICBC reviews your driver’s record for this period, which starts about 17 months before your birthday and ends a year later, 5 months before your birthday. For example, if you have 4 points, the annual DPP premium is $175. It’s $230 for 5 points, $300 for 6 points, and so on. If you have 50 points or more, you get the maximum DPP premium of $24,000.
How are you billed for DPP premiums?
ICBC bills you for a DPP premium only if you’ve had 4 or more penalty points added to your driving record in the assessment period. So if you get only an occasional minor traffic ticket, you won’t be charged any extra premium. Also, you don’t get points for parking tickets and other minor violations of city bylaws.
ICBC uses the points just once to calculate the premium and bill you. Once the points go on your record, they aren’t used again for billing, but ICBC keeps a record of each motor vehicle violation and point.
What are driver risk premiums (DRPs)?
Driver risk premiums (DRPs) started in 2009. They will eventually replace DPP premiums. But there’s no date set for the replacement. And until then, both programs operate together. Under this new DRP program, ICBC reviews your driving record for offences for the previous 3 years. You will have to pay a DRP if, during the previous 3 years, you have:
- one or more driving-related Criminal Code convictions (such as, impaired driving)
- one or more Motor Vehicle Act convictions worth 10 points or more (such as driving while suspended)
- one or more excessive speeding convictions
- two or more roadside suspensions or prohibitions
The DRP (like the DPP premium) is in addition to the usual ICBC insurance premium that you pay for any vehicle you own. And it differs from the fine you have to pay for the traffic or violation ticket. It also differs from any insurance cost increase or surcharge you have to pay if you are in an accident that was your fault. You are billed even if you don’t own or insure a vehicle.
How much are DRPs?
The amount depends on the number of convictions you get. For example, the DRP for one excessive speeding offence is $320. It’s $905 for one Criminal Code conviction like impaired driving. And it’s $3,760 for two Criminal Code convictions.
How are you billed for a DRP?
You will get only one DRP bill a year. But because the assessment period is 3 years, one conviction during this period means you have to pay the DRP each year for 3 years. For example, if you have one excessive speeding conviction, then you’ll have to pay $320 each year for 3 years, for a total of $960.
Can you be billed for both a DPP premium and a DRP?
No, both the DRP and the DPP premium will operate until the DRP replaces the DPP. Until then, you will be billed only one premium, whichever is highest.
How long do you have to pay?
You get a DPP or DRP bill once a year. You have to pay the bill within 30 days of the invoice date. You can pay it with online banking or in person at any bank, at Autoplan insurance brokers, ICBC claim centres, and driver licensing office. You can mail a cheque to ICBC at ICBC Revenue Accounting, 151 West Esplanade, North Vancouver, BC, V7M 3H9.
What if you can’t or don’t pay?
If you don’t pay the bill within 30 days, ICBC will charge you interest. ICBC can also refuse to renew your vehicle insurance until you pay. Also, you won’t be able to renew your driver’s licence if you don’t pay a DPP bill or a DRP.
You can avoid paying a DPP or DRP bill if you’re willing not to drive for a year. If you give up your driver’s licence to an ICBC driver licensing office for the whole one-year billing period, you won’t have to pay the bill.
Or you can reduce a DPP or DRP bill by giving up your licence for 30 days or more during the billing period. When you want your license back, go to a driver licensing office and pay the reduced bill, plus any extra license fees. But this works only if you do not have to take a driver re-examination and don’t have any outstanding prohibitions.
If you do this, be sure to actually take your licence in person to the driver licensing office and get a receipt for it. If you just put your licence away and decide not to drive, you’ll still owe the same money as before, plus interest, because there would be no proof that you gave up your right to drive.
You may be able to reduce a DPP or DRP bill in other cases too
ICBC will reduce a DPP or DRP bill if you’ve been prohibited or legally banned from driving for 60 days or more in the billing period. It usually does this automatically, but you may have to ask it to do so and to prove your situation. Also, you can apply to ICBC Customer Service for a refund or reduction if, for at least 30 days in a row during the billing period, any of the following cases apply:
- you lived in another province and legally held a driver’s license there
- you were not in Canada or the US
- you were in jail
- you had medical reasons for not driving
Again, you may have to prove your case to ICBC.
Multiple crash premium
If you are 50% (or more) at fault for 3 crashes in 3 years, you have to pay a multiple crash premium of $1,000. For each additional crash within 3 years, you would pay an extra $500.
Where can you find more information?
[updated June 2014]
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