Prior to June 10, 2019 receiving a violation ticket in British Columbia would not affect your insurance rates.  Instead ICBC would collect revenue from certain offences and points by conducting a calculation under either the Driver Penalty Point Premium program or the Driver Risk Premium program.  Point premiums are assessed based on how many points are on a person’s driving record in a given year.  Driving risk premiums are assessed depending on whether the person has a high-risk driving offence (excessive speeding, use of electronic device, or driving without due care/consideration), motor vehicle criminal conviction or roadside suspension.

On June 6, 2019, ICBC announced that optional insurance rates would be impacted by violation tickets on a person’s driving record, independent of the penalties that are assessed under the DPP and DRP programs.  That means if you receive optional coverage through ICBC (such as comprehensive or collision coverage), ICBC will be able to increase your rates for this insurance starting September 2019.  In practice, that means that ICBC will be able to charge you more for your insurance coverage as well as collect extra penalties under the DPP or DRP.

Under ICBC’s changes, they will go back three years and review a person’s driving record.  If the person has at least one high risk offence, they will be charged an increase premium.  If the person has more than one “minor offence” they will be charged an increased insurance premium.  ICBC has not released a comprehensive list but their news release indicates that this will include speeding, failing to stop or yield, and not wearing a seatbelt.  It is important to note that this list includes offences with no driver penalty points.  That means that the final list is likely to encompass almost all moving violations.

Practically, this means that there may be even more financial reason to dispute a ticket.  Previously, a seatbelt ticket did not carry many consequences other than the $167 fine ($142 if paid within 30 days!) which likely induced many drivers to pay the penalty rather than dispute it.  Under this new regime, the financial consequences of the ticket may greatly exceed the fine and give driver’s an additional reason to dispute violations they are not in agreement with.

Given the major changes happening to BC’s insurance rates, the final financial impact to BC driver’s is yet to be seen.

If you have been issued a traffic ticket contact Michael Thain at Drysdale Bacon McStravick LLP.