how many points does it take to lose your “N” licence

How many points to lose your N licence (BC)?

It’s a question we often get: how many points does it take to lose your “N” licence? If you are a learner driver you should know that you are much more susceptible to forfeiting your licence.  

In fact, if you receive any points or violations you could lose your driver’s license and be required to restart the Graduated Licensing Program.

The Graduated Licensing Program: how many points to lose your N licence

In British Columbia young and beginner drivers are required to enrol in the Graduated Licensing Program. It takes 36 months to go from a Learner’s license to a Class 5.

You are under greater scrutiny during the Graduated Licensing Program.

After gaining a Learner’s “L” license must wait one year to be eligible for a Novice “N” license. You must hold your “N” license for a period of two years before you can a road test to receive a full Class 5 license.

Scrutiny: how many points to lose your N licence?

You are under greater scrutiny during the Graduated Licensing Program. It takes fewer traffic violations to incur a driving prohibition. If an L or N driver receives a driving prohibition, they will have to begin the Graduated Licensing Program all over again. The only way to prevent this is to successfully overturn the violation.

New drivers are closely monitored and are subject to a lower threshold for intervention by the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles. Whenever a conviction for a traffic offence or traffic ticket is registered on your driver’s abstract your driving record is flagged for review. If you are in the Graduated Licensing Program then any notation on your abstract may trigger a Notice of Intent to Prohibit or even a Notice of Prohibition from the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles.

Driver Improvement Program

In this case, a class 7 driver who had no other infractions on her driving record was prohibited from driving for two months for using an electronic device while driving despite having no other infractions on her driving record.

Under RoadSafetyBC’s Driver Improvement Program Policy and Guidelines, new drivers with no previous prohibitions who commit a driving offence carrying two to six penalty points are liable to intervention by the Superintendent ranging from an offence letter to prohibition from one to six months.

So just one infraction worth as little as two penalty points can be sufficient to impose a driving prohibition on a Class 7 driver. Remember, if you get a driving prohibition you have to begin the 24-month novice period all over again. An experienced driver can accumulate 15 penalty points before the Superintendent will intervene, although the length of any potential prohibition would be longer.

Distracted driving restrictions

If you are a Class 7 driver then you are not permitted to use any electronic device while operating a vehicle. This includes GPS, hands-free and radio systems. A novice driver can have their phone within arms-reach and plugged in but the only time they are allowed to use a phone is in case of emergency or when they are parked safely.

Using an electronic device while driving infraction is a “high-risk” offence. Consequently, any Class 7 drivers who commit the offence will automatically receive four penalty points and have their driving record referred to the Driver Improvement Program. One distracted driving ticket can result in a prohibition ranging from one to six months.

Alcohol limits for Class 7 drivers

There is a zero-tolerance alcohol and drug policy for Novice drivers. If police detect any trace of drugs or alcohol in your system and you hold an L or N licence, you will receive an Immediate Roadside Prohibition.

Other restrictions

In addition to the stricter lower thresholds for Class 7 drivers, learner and novice drivers must abide by other rules. They must display an “L” or “N” sign in their vehicles and they may only have passenger at a time unless there is a supervisor over the age of 25 present.

Don’t lose your licence

By now, hopefully, you are aware of how many points before you lose your “N” licence. So as little as two points are sufficient to incur a driving prohibition and have to restart the two-year novice period all over again.

If you receive a traffic ticket or Motor Vehicle Act violation, driving prohibition or you have a criminal charge and you are a learner or novice driver, you should immediately contact an experienced driving lawyer.

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