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Your Licence Is a Privilege

A driver’s licence is a privilege, not a right.  It is given to us by the government, and similarly it can be taken away or restricted.  This is not based solely on your behaviour, however.  Even a driver with a perfect record may have their licence revoked.

Medical Reasons

Medical conditions are entirely outside of our control, but we do still need to make responsible decisions if we have received a diagnosis.  The government takes a strong stance on this.  Certain medical conditions barre people from maintaining a driver’s licence.  Uncontrollable epilepsy for instance, is one such condition.  Certain heart conditions also may restrict one’s driver’s licence.

It can be frustrating to have the liberties that you once enjoyed taken away from you for reasons beyond your control.  However, it is necessary in order to keep both you and other drivers safe on the roads.

Criminal Reasons

There are some driving infractions that fall under the Criminal Code of Canada.  Section 219(1) refers to criminal negligence, for instance, and some driving infractions can constitute a violation of this section.

Furthermore, British Columbia has the Motor Vehicle Act which further identifies the provincial laws related to driving.  Section 91(1)(c) and (d) of this act outlines the penalties for violating a licence suspension or restriction:

“(c) on a first conviction, to a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $2,000 or to imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or to both; and

(d) on a subsequent conviction, regardless of when the contravention occurred, to a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $2,000 and to imprisonment for not less than 14 days and not more than one year.”

ICBC Has a Say Too

ICBC can refuse to renew your driver’s licence if you have outstanding debt owed to them, the BC Government, or even outstanding tolls.  Additionally, if you have been found to have made false or misleading statements in order to obtain a driver’s licence, that licence will become void.

“High Risk”

In addition to the above legislation and ICBC, there is an additional authority that has discretion to determine the eligibility of your licence.  The Superintendent of Motor Vehicles has the authority to decide if a driver is ‘high risk’ and therefore prohibit them from driving.  This may result from a driver having multiple infractions such as distracted driving.

Ultimately, most of us are safe from having our licence revoked.  As long as we drive safely, abide by the law, and stay in good health, we have nothing to fear.  The government has no intention of restricting our independence unnecessarily.  Their intention is to keep the roads as safe as possible.