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My Son Just Got His License: How Can I Help Keep Him Safe?

Nov 8 2018
My Son Just Got His License: How Can I Help Keep Him Safe? - Personal Injry - RDM Lawyers Blog

As a parent, one of your biggest concerns will be how to keep your child safe once he/she reaches driving age. Your concerns are not unfounded considering the fact that nearly a quarter of speeding drivers involved in accidents with injuries or fatalities are between the ages of 16 and 21. A number of factors affect this rate: young drivers are, by default, inexperienced and will often overestimate their ability behind the wheel. It’s also not uncommon to see risk-taking or thrill-seeking behavior, particularly among young male drivers.

So what can you do – as a parent – to discourage bad behavior behind the wheel while encouraging safe, responsible driving habits? While the basics of keeping your teenager safe once they get their license are primarily based on the way you teach him or her responsibility with a vehicle, there are a couple of significantly more important factors that all drivers in the family should be aware of.


Breaches – Denial Of Insurance Coverage

As the main provider of basic auto insurance in the province, ICBC can seek to recover payment of a claim if it finds that the person driving has breached his or her insurance contract. ICBC can sue its own insured for repayment if an investigation has found that the driver:

  • Is found guilty of a Criminal Code driving offence, such as impaired driving or driving over .08, or is found to have been incapable of proper control of a motor vehicle by virtue of impairment from alcohol of drugs (no conviction required);
  • Was not the declared principal operator – the main driver of the vehicle more than 50 percent of the time – when they said they were;
  • Has stated they drove the vehicle for pleasure when, in fact, it was used to commute back and forth to school or work; or
  • Has otherwise given a materially false statement either at the time the policy was taken out or in the course of a claims investigation

Each of the above situations is called a “breach”.

Once a breach is committed, ICBC is entitled to insist that any claim paid to an innocent third party be repaid and, depending on the circumstances, a breached driver may not be able to get insurance through the agency and may have to seek alternate (and likely costlier) options. If repayment is refused, be aware that ICBC will continue to pursue the matter through whatever means necessary, including legal action.


Increased Fees For Risky Behavior

As of November 1st of this year, those people that ICBC deems to be considered as risky drivers will see a 20 percent hike in their Driver Risk Premium. Risky drivers include anyone who has been convicted of impaired driving, distracted driving, excessive speeding and other violations.

The 20 percent increase also applies to those who have four or more traffic violation points against their license. If a driver does not pay the additional premiums, he or she will not be able to renew their driver’s license and will not be able to renew their insurance through ICBC. As it stands now, if a driver has four traffic violation points, the penalty is $175. If he or she has 50 or more points, the penalty is $24,000. With the November increase, the penalties go up to $210 and $28,800 respectively.


Good Driving Habits Start Early

Good driving habits should be instilled in young people, even before they get behind the wheel. As a parent, you can significantly impact how seriously they view this privilege and how responsible a driver they ultimately end up becoming. To help prepare them for this role, there are a number of programs and initiatives they can take advantage of including BC’s road safety speakers program; the provincial graduated licensing program that helps drivers get driving experience in low-risk environments; and road safety packages that help teachers present road safety information to students who are preparing for their license.


When You Need Legal Assistance

Poor driving and bad judgment can be detrimental for everyone – particularly young drivers. Ensuring that all family members are aware of the legal, financial and personal consequences associated with risky or dangerous driving can go a long way to securing their safety on the road. But when circumstances arise where there is need for legal services, such as dealing with ICBC or assisting with a personal injury claim, contact RDM Lawyers.



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