Driver Suspensions

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Anonymous

I would like some information regarding laws in Vancouver or other provinces in Canada that require a temporary suspension of one's license if they are involved in a motor vehicle accident where there is a fatality or serious injury.

My brother was killed in a motor vehicle accident in March 2011. He was driving a motorcycle when a minivan drove into oncoming traffic to make a left hand turn. No charges were laid, and there was no fine, suspension, or any type of 'slap on the hand'. I would think that at the very least, a temporary suspension of one's license should occur as the survivor is inevitably in shock &/or traumatized by the accident. I consider it a "time out", which is necessary for the survivor's own mental health, and to keep a traumatized driver off of the roads temporarily. I also see it as some sort of repercussion for their actions that resulted in a death or critical injury of another citizen.

I am also curious whether there are any legal obligations to retake one's license or be required to take a defensive driver course following an accident where the other party was killed or seriously injured?

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Driving Prohibitions

I don't know about other provinces in Canada as I never did traffic enforcement outside of British Columbia.

I am almost certain that unless there is alcohol or some health or driving history involved, there is no action taken to prohibit a driver post crash or cause them to be re-examined for their fitness to drive. Of course, after the investigation is done and the matter is referred to the courts, a prohibition might follow as part of the penalty for a conviction of the driver for breaching any laws that led to the crash.

Unless the courts apply a significant penalty, I've often thought that our insurance system takes much of the sting out of causing a collision. Sure, you might lose your safe driving discount, but in proportion to what you might have caused, this can be a miniscule thing. The only time the burden becomes significant is when you are convicted of impaired driving in relation to the incident or there is some legal reason for ICBC to invalidate your insurance coverage. Then ICBC pays out and you must reimburse ICBC. Your ability to obtain a driver's licence can be removed while you have an outstanding debt and you could be prohibited from driving in BC.

Although the Criminal Code makes it an offence to drive while prohibited by a provincial authority, my current understanding of the law here in BC is that Crown Counsel will not approve such a charge. This means that drivers who are prohibited in other provinces that choose to continue to drive in BC are not subject to a criminal penalty.

You may wish to promote your suggestions with the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles and your MLA.