Unexpected consequences of a traffic ticket
Getting a traffic ticket is usually a frustrating experience, but few people seem to know that receiving multiple tickets in British Columbia can have even more serious consequences. In this post, we will discuss the Driver Point Premium and Driver Risk Premium programs in British Columbia and explain why accumulating traffic tickets trigger significant further undisclosed costs as well as other undisclosed consequences of a traffic ticket that comes as a shock to many.
We’d like you to know what you’re facing.
First, let’s talk about the Driver Point Premium program. This program was created to encourage safe driving and penalize those who have a history of traffic violations. When you receive a traffic ticket in British Columbia, you will be assigned a certain number of penalty points based on the severity of the violation as set out in the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations. For example, a conviction for Speeding results in three penalty points, while Disobey Traffic Control Device results in two. If you accumulate four or more points within a 12-month period, you will be charged Driver Point Premium.
Driver Point Premium is essentially an additional fee that you must pay on top of the fine for your traffic tickets. The amount of the premium varies depending on the number of points you have accumulated, and it can range from $214 for four points to $29,376 annually, depending on your driving record. Depending on the interval or frequency of your convictions, it may carry over for several years assessed each year near your birthday.
It is not uncommon to see people with just a couple of ticket convictions paying $500-$700 in Driver Point Premium each year on their birthday for several years. This is in addition to the ticketed amount and therefore you need to weigh these undisclosed costs when considering disputing a traffic ticket.
Now, let’s talk about the Driver Risk Premium program. This program was also introduced to extract money with the goal of penalize drivers who are considered to be high-risk. High-risk drivers are those who have convictions for certain driving offences. If you are deemed a high-risk driver, you will be charged a Driver Risk Premium in addition to the fines and increased insurance premiums.
The Driver Risk Premium is assessed per conviction and also made payable annually, assessed in connection with your birthday. A single offence deemed “High-Risk” in the MVA Regulations, will trigger a minimum $392 bill. Of course, the high-risk offence also comes with points and if you have any other tickets in the time frame, Driver Risk Premium will be assessed in addition to Driver Point Premium.
Convictions also impact your insurance rates. This wasn’t always the case. They only made the decision to change the rules in 2018, so there is very little information available regarding just how bad your premiums will increase. But take note: convictions for traffic offences WILL increase your insurance.
ICBC rates take into account individual factors such as where you live down to the neighbourhood, how much you drive your vehicle, who else drives your vehicle, the year, make model of your vehicle and even the option packages. Because this is such a complex calculation, they only ever provide examples of “typical” rates on their website. One thing they do disclose in the fine print it this:
If you’re convicted of two minor driving offences (such as failure to stop at a stop sign or speeding) or one serious offence (such as excessive speeding or distracted driving) that occurred on or after June 10, 2019, your premiums for Collision and Extended Third Party Liability (two optional ICBC coverages) will also increase.
How much will your insurance go up? 20%? 40%? Will it double? We don’t know and of course, because there are so many factors at play, it’s the biggest unexpected consequence of a traffic ticket.
Finally, as every class 7 driver knows, even one ticket can trigger a driving prohibition. For a class 5 driver, two in a short period can trigger a driving prohibition, and it is increasingly likely if one of the convictions is for a high-risk offence. This plays out because the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles delegate reviews your driving record when you have a conviction to see if remedial action is required to address your bad driving behaviour.
So, why is receiving multiple traffic tickets in British Columbia really bad? Because each ticket you receive not only comes with a fine but there are significant undisclosed consequences.
Sadly, most people don’t learn of the unexpected consequences of a traffic ticket until it’s too late.
A traffic ticket in British Columbia is never a good thing. Receiving high-risk tickets or multiple tickets can have serious consequences. The Driver Point Premium and Driver Risk Premium programs are designed to penalize drivers who have a history of traffic violations. Insurance consequences come as a big surprise because there is little information available about how much your insurance rates will increase.
If you receive a traffic ticket, any traffic ticket, you should consider disputing it. A call to our office to discuss a traffic ticket you just received is always free of charge. If you got caught, call us. We’re the BC Driving Lawyers and we have been defending traffic tickets in BC for decades.