A lot of people call me to ask about how many tickets they can get before they lose their license. People are concerned that having a certain number of points or a minimum number of tickets will trigger a driving prohibition.
So I will answer this question for anyone who is wondering how many tickets it will take for them to lose their driver’s license.
The answer, unfortunately, is not as simple as putting a number on it. This is because ICBC and RoadSafetyBC treat drivers differently based on their level of experience and the type of ticket they get. That being said, there are a few guidelines that generally apply in these cases.
Class 7L Drivers
If you have your Class 7 Learner’s license, you can rest assured that any ticket you get will trigger a driving prohibition. There is no reason you should be getting a speeding ticket or any other type of ticket with a qualified supervisor sitting next to you in the vehicle. And so if you have your Learner’s license, any ticket you get should be disputed.
Class 7N Drivers
If you have a Class 7 Novice license, that is, if you have your N, the rules are relatively strict. You can expect that if you get more than four points you may be at risk of losing your license. Any more than four points attracts the attention of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles and ICBC.
To put that in perspective, most tickets have either two, three, or four points. You can find a full list of the points for any traffic offence here. Generally, if you get two tickets with your N, you will lose your license.
As an example, if you have your N and you get two speeding tickets, you will lose your license. This is because each speeding ticket has three points. The two together will trigger a driving prohibition. Ditto for two tickets for not complying with a restriction on your driver’s license.
But things get a lot worse when it comes to certain types of tickets, labelled high-risk offences. These include tickets for using an electronic device while driving, excessive speeding, or driving without due care and attention.
If you receive just one high-risk ticket, despite the fact that it may not have a set number of points to trigger the four-point danger zone. Even one ticket for excessive speeding or distracted driving will cause your license to be suspended.
Class 5 Drivers
Class 5 and higher drivers are given the most leeway in receiving tickets. But even then, there is no hard-and-fast rule as to how many tickets will trigger a driving prohibition. I have seen Class 5 drivers lose their license for even a single ticket, in some circumstances.
However, as a general rule, as a Class 5 or higher driver, you become at risk of losing your license if you end up with nine points. At that point, you may receive a warning letter or be placed on probation, or you may have your license taken entirely.
This is because ICBC and RoadSafetyBC do not just look at how many points you have. They also look at your pattern of behaviour. So if you get a few of the same type of ticket, you could get a driving prohibition even if you do not have nine to eleven points on your license. I have seen, albeit rarely, clients prohibited for too many u-turn tickets or too many seatbelt infractions.
Additionally, any two high-risk offences will typically trigger a driving prohibition of four to five months. This means two cell phone tickets, two excessive speeding tickets, or a combination of them.
Finally, if you have a Class 5 or higher license, there are also some weird combinations of tickets that can trigger a longer driving prohibition. For example, if you get an excessive speeding ticket and then a regular speeding ticket, or vice versa, that could trigger a further prohibition from driving.
Other Factors to Consider
There are other factors to consider in determining how a ticket will impact you.
For example, if you get a high-risk driving ticket, you may have to pay a Driver Risk Premium. These are annual premiums, paid every year for three years. Any tickets or combination of tickets that add up to more than four points will also trigger a Driver Penalty Point premium, based on the number of points you have.
Your insurance rates may also be impacted by tickets. Unfortunately, it is not possible for any lawyer to tell you exactly how much more a ticket will make you pay in increased insurance costs. This is because every person’s insurance rates, and the impact a ticket or combination of tickets will have, varies based on your individual risk factors.
This is why it is so important to dispute every ticket you get. Even one ticket can trigger significant consequences that can follow you for a long time.
And you can never be 100% certain that you will not lose your license even after a single traffic ticket.