Do I Need an L Sign With a Class 5L Licence?

I am 32 year old with a driving experience of more than 10 years from India. Currently I am a Learners license holder for class 5. I have been told by one of the driving schools that I need to display the 'L' sign on my car while I drive with a supervisor. I confirmed with ICBC driving licensing office that I have no restriction on my license except that I need a qualified supervisor. On further enquiry I have been told by surrey licensing office and Langley licensing office that in case I display a 'L' sign on my car, I would be subject to a ticket for misinformation if I get pulled over. I did communicate to the driving school but they still stand their feet. I have been trying to find out if I can get something in written on this issue but Langley office told me they don't have anything in written about this.

Could you please clarify this confusion for me and for the school as well. This could help people similar to me to not run into a bad situation of not being aware. If you could give me a evidential proof of what exactly is the correct thing to do.

Answer

The new driver sign requirements are set out in Division 30 of the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations:

New driver sign condition for Class 7L, 8L, 7 and 8 licences

30.10  (1) In this section, "new driver sign" means a sign, issued by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia for the purposes of this section, to indicate that a motor vehicle is being driven by a person who is learning to drive or by a novice driver.

(2) Subject to the exception set out in subsection (3), a person to whom a Class 7L or 8L licence is issued must not operate a motor vehicle of a category designated in section 30.01 (2) for that class of driver's licence unless a new driver sign depicting the letter "L" is clearly visible and prominently displayed from the rear of the motor vehicle or trailer, as the case may be.

(3) The new driver sign condition under subsection (2) does not apply in the course of the person receiving practical driver training conducted in accordance with Division 27 by a licensed driver training instructor, unless the practical driver training is being conducted in a private vehicle under section 27.09 (7).

(4) Subject to the exception set out in subsection (5), a person to whom a Class 7 or 8 licence is issued must not operate a motor vehicle of a category designated in section 30.01 (2) for that class of driver's licence unless a new driver sign depicting the letter "N" is clearly visible and prominently displayed from the rear of the motor vehicle or trailer, as the case may be.

(5) The new driver sign condition under subsection (4) does not a apply in the course of the person receiving practical driver training conducted in accordance with Division 27 by a licensed driver training instructor, unless the practical driver training is being conducted in a private vehicle under section 27.09 (7).

These conditions are shown on the back of the learner and novice driver's licences as well.

A class 5L does not have any requirement for the display of new driver signs in Division 30. If there is nothing requiring them printed on the back of your licence as a condition (there should not be to my knowledge) you do not have to display them.

Should you choose to display a new driver sign, there is nothing that can be done about it legally. The offence is in not displaying one when you need it, not in displaying one when you do not.

That's it exactly.

The Class 7 & 8 'L' & 'N' signs that are required according to the restrictions applying to the driver are only applicable to the Class 7 & 8 Learner and Novice drivers; they are there to advertise to other road users that the person behind the wheel is inexperienced and should be given some consideration.  When ICBC brought in Graduated Licensing back in 1998, they provided little information to the general public; indeed, the then Premier, Gordon Campbell, was heard asking in the house what those signs meant.  Of course, he may not have been up on all the rules, anyway, back then ...

It's not uncommon to see Driving School cars with L and/or N signs stuck to the trunk.  Perhaps the Operators think it makes them look official, or something.  But this is entirely unnecessary, as it happens; MVA(R) Division 27 (1)(d) specifies their specific signage requirements, intended to cover all aspects of Class 5 or 7 training or retraining.  So long as they're with a certified Driving Instructor in a properly marked Driving School Vehicle, the L/N sign is not required.  ICBC Driver Examiners will always slap one on for Road Tests though, as they're not Driving Instructors, and they must ensure that the examinee is not in contravention of their license restrictions.

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