Whitlock Insurance All You Need to Know About Getting a BC Drivers License

All You Need to Know About Getting a BC Driver’s License

Spring is on the way! And that means a rush on kids getting a new BC driver’s license. Here’s what you need to know:

Spring will be here before we know it and, inevitably, that will mean a whole lot of new, fresh-faced youngsters eager to get behind the wheel with a new BC driver’s license – Learners and New permits – throughout the region.

The pandemic has had an impact on the scheduling of BC drivers license exams and road tests. In answer, ICBC has implemented an efficient online booking system so that our kids and other new drivers can easily book their testing sessions. Be sure to get out ahead, mind you, as the appointments book fast. As with everything these days, anticipate and plan for potential restrictions, which may include masks and physical distancing. Plan ahead to ensure the best possible experience for the excited new driver!

In preparation for getting out on the road with a BC driver’s license, we’ve outlined all the important things to know, from preparation to practice to planning for a test. Read on and fasten your seatbelt… it’s going to be an exciting ride!


They’re ready to jump in and hit the road with their new BC driver’s license. And, of course, you want them to do so. But with confidence and safety. This is an exciting – and scary! – time for young drivers and parents alike. All that freedom and independence; no more relying on rides from mom and dad. It’s a wonderful time in a young person’s life, but it also comes with tremendous responsibility.

What the eager young driver-to-be may not anticipate is how much preparation will be required before they get behind the wheel on their own with a brand new BC drivers license. There are tests, both theory and on the road, but there’s also the expense of a first car insurance policy.

Let’s break things down with a brief outline to help you know what to expect. We’ll also give you let you know where you can find all the information you and the new driver in your life will need:

Pass the knowledge test before driving – the BC Learner’s Permit

To become a legal driver in our province, a knowledge test is the first mandatory step. The first stage in the process to receive a valid BC driver’s license is the Learner’s permit.

With a Learner’s permit, the new driver is able to get real-world practice behind the wheel WITH a licensed adult driver. This is their opportunity to get safe and guided practice. LOTS OF PRACTICE!

To receive the Learners, or “L”, in this, the first step, a first-time driver must achieve a score of, at minimum, 40 out of 50 questions correct on a multiple-choice knowledge test. In order to pass this test they’ll prove that they understand not only the rules of the road, but that they have an awareness about what it means to drive safely. To pass this phase the aspiring driver will:

  • Pay a fee to take the Knowledge test.
  • Take the test from a computer terminal at a registered testing office.
  • Answer questions that include road sign knowledge, driving laws and safe driving practices.
  • Once completed successfully, the new driver will receive a BC Learner’s driving permit and an “L” magnet to display clearly on the back of the vehicle. This magnet indicates the driver’s status to others on the road, including law enforcement and other authorities.
  • Understand that this Learner’s Permit IS NOT a full BC driver’s license. They are restricted to driving with a licensed adult, not on their own. It is required to progress to the further required exams and advanced, independent, licensing.
  • Be authorized to practice driving on the road legally with a fully licensed family member or friend or recognized driving school.

Learner’s (Knowledge) tests are available by appointment only. Book an appointment using ICBC’s online scheduling service.

Graduated Licensing Program

No matter the aspiring driver’s age, every first-time driver in British Columbia must achieve their full BC driver’s license through the Graduated Licensing Program (GLP).

The GLP process provides new drivers with all the information, skills, and perspectives to help make them better, safer drivers who are more competent and confident on the road. Through the GLP, inexperienced drivers gradually become more comfortable as they prepare to become independent drivers. This is achieved first with experienced and trusted supervision and then, eventually, on their own.

To help new drivers make their way through the GLP successfully and receive their BC Drivers License with confidence, there are three tests: a multiple-choice, followed by two on the road. When the new driver proves a level of mastery over the required knowledge and that they can drive safely, the process is typically completed in three years. It’s the years driving as a Learner and New driver that allow ample preparation and practice to develop and reinforce the necessary knowledge, skills, comfort, and confidence they need to drive safely with the rest of us.

The required phases to achieve a full BC driver’s licence – the GLP ‘Learner’ and ‘Novice’ permits:

Phase 1: Learner’s (L) Permit

At any time on or after their 16th birthday, a new driver can receive their L.

The L driving permit – steps:

Knowledge tests are available by appointment only. Book an appointment using ICBC’s online scheduling service.

Learn more about the BC Learner’s licence

Phase 2: Novice (N) Driver Permit

The driver must practice with their N permit for a minimum of a year under the supervision of an experienced, licensed driver. Upon completion of a year of practice, the Learner can take their first road test.

Getting the N permit:

  • Plan ahead and BOOK the CLASS 7 road test
  • Plan that the road test session — including time to review driving performance — will last approximately 45 minutes. The assigned examiner sits beside the driver and decides the route that will test your driving skills best.

Learn more about the Novice licence

Phase 3: Full Driver’s License

The final step! When you complete phase 3, you will be allowed complete independence on the road. The end of mandatory supervision as you drive. When you achieve this phase of the process, you can remove the magnet from your vehicle.

Phase 3 can be completed only after at least two years of safe driving as an N. The requirements for a full driver’s license include:

  • You have driven suspension-free for the previous year as an L driver.
  • The Class 5 road test – booked in advance.
  • Successful completion of the advanced road test. As the driver is more experienced, there will be more difficult and challenging driving environments presented during the road test than was completed for the N. The test along with examination feedback will take approximately 45 minutes.

Learn more about getting the full BC driver’s licence


Protecting the new, young driver – auto insurance coverage

When it comes to insuring young drivers, different factors will determine what you will pay for car insurance. Your insurance agent will identify the insurance rate using the following factors:

  • For the purposes of auto insurance, a young driver is defined by anyone under the age of 25.
  • Multiple risk factors influence the rates for auto insurance, including the increased likelihood of an accident with young drivers.
  • In Canada, young drivers make up about 10 per cent of drivers. The fact is, young drivers are more at risk for auto accidents. They account for about 25 per cent of all accidents resulting in serious injury or death.
  • Drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 are simply assumed to be at higher risk.

If you have questions about auto insurance for young or new drivers or any other insurance information, CONTACT US!

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