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Steps Required to Become a Fully Licensed Driver in British Columbia

Introduced Oct. 6, 2003

How do I become a Learner?

To enter the Learner Phase (Class 7L), you must:

  • Be at least 16
  • Take a vision test
  • Take a driving knowledge test
  • Have a parent or guardian’s consent (if you are under 19)

How long will I be in the Learner Phase?

You must be in the Learner Phase for at least 12 months. The Learner’s license is valid for two years, but can be extended if you re-qualify on the knowledge test. You can stay in this phase for as long as you like.

You must be 16 years of age (and have passed all license requirements) to enter the Learner Phase.

What are the restrictions while I am in the Learner Phase?

You must drive with a supervisory driver who is 25 or older and has a valid Class 1-5 driver’s licence. You can have, along with the supervisory driver, only one other passenger in the car with you.  You cannot drive between midnight and 5 a.m. You cannot drink when you are driving – your blood alcohol must be zero. Your car must have the Learner sign on it.

The minimum penalty for violating any Learner Phase restriction is a $109 fine. If you break the no-drinking-and-driving rule, you will get an immediate 12-hour driving suspension, and you will not be able to drive again for one month, on a first offense.  If you break the no-drinking-and-driving rule again, you will not be able to drive for a year.

What else should I know?

If you break any traffic rules while you are a Learner, you can lose your right to drive very quickly. You will be allowed only two to six demerit points (instead of the 15 to 19 points allowed to a Class 1-5 driver).  If you get too many demerit points, you will lose the right to drive for a period of time.

If you get four demerit points (this would usually happen with two tickets) you can lose the right to drive for one month.  If you get more than four points you can lose the right to drive for a longer time.

You are also subject to all the penalties and fines that apply to other drivers.  For a chart of these, see http://www.icbc.com/Licensing/lic_fines_pen_fine_chart.asp

How do I become a Novice?

To enter the Novice Phase (Class 7N) from the Learner Phase, you must pass the Class 7 road test.

How long will I be in the Novice Phase?

You must be in the Novice Phase for at least 24 months, unless you take and pass an ICBC-approved driver education course (which reduces this by 6 months). The approved course must be taken and passed in the Learner Phase. In addition, to qualify for the six month reduction, you must be prohibition free; ticket and violation free; and not have any at-fault collisions.

What are the restrictions while I am in the Novice Phase?

You can have only one passenger in the car with you, unless you have a supervisory driver who is 25 or older and has a valid Class 1-5 driver’s licence (one or more immediate family members are allowed even without a supervisor). You cannot drink when you are driving – your blood alcohol must be zero. Your car must have the Novice sign on it.

What else should I know?

If you break any traffic rules, you will go back to the beginning of the Novice Phase; you will lose all of the time you have spent in this phase.

As in the Learner Phase, you will be allowed only two to six demerit points (instead of the 15 to 19 points allowed to a Class 1-5 driver). If you get too many demerit points, you will lose the right to drive for a period of time.

To graduate from the Novice Phase, you must pass the Class 5 road test.

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