All You Need To Know About ICBC Learner & New Driver Restrictions

All You Need To Know About ICBC Learner & New Driver Restrictions

If you want to drive in Canada you need to get yourself a driving license as soon as possible. Well, getting caught without a driving license in any of the Canadian provinces is equivalent to a criminal offense that makes you either lose the visa or you will get heavily fined.

But there is also another important thing the drivers need to remember and that is: No matter if you are a foreign or a local driver but having a Canadian driving license doesn’t mean you can drive in a way you like. You must follow the guidelines especially if you are a learner or novice driver license holder.

Let us start with some basic knowledge of GLP to make you understand the restrictions better.

Graduate Licensing Program (GLP)

As you keep passing tests, you will be promoted to the upper level of a driver’s license with lesser restrictions. First, you will always be provided a class 7 license which takes 3years to let you apply for the Class 5 license. here are the three phases:

 Learner’s Licence

 New Driver or Novice Licence

 Class 5 Licence

Why Do Driver's Licenses Have Restrictions?

The answer to this question is pretty simple!

The licenses have multiple driving restrictions just to make sure that you drive safely. Having a license makes a driver take an oath that he will follow all the necessary rules, will not break the laws, and will respect the restrictions. No matter if you hold a learner’s or Novice driver's license, the restrictions are set depending on the individual’s driving skills, expertise, and understanding of the traffic laws.

Most of the restrictions are the same for both licenses including Learner’s (L) and New driver (N). For instance, with a valid L or N license, the driver can drive across Canada and the US.

Vehicle’s Restrictions 

 If the person has a class 7 license, either L or N, you will only be allowed to drive certain vehicles on the road, and in case of getting caught while driving other vehicles, you can lose your visa and residency permit, can face license suspension and heavy charges.

 The driver is allowed to drive in family-friendly cars, vans, compact trucks, construction, UTE automobiles that must not exceed 2 axles

 The maximum towing limit is 4,600kg

 You have the permit to ride a limited speed motorbike or an ATV (all-terrain vehicle)

 Freedom of driving 3-wheeled automobiles but should not drive in trikes that are 3-wheeled motorbikes

Learners License (Class 7L)

Have you never driven a car ever before or have very little practice of driving?

The very first step is to get a hold on the Learner’s License, a legal driving permit for all the new drivers. The driver is obliged to complete a year of road driving practice under supervision to learn the basics of safe driving. After the completion of 12 months without facing any suspension, detention, or charges, the driver is capable of applying for the next level ‘Novice Driver (N)’ license.


 The foremost restriction is to post a letter “L” on a windshield, motor, or on the rear window. Post it at any spot where the sign becomes clearly visible explaining that you are a new learner or a beginner. The driver can get the letter sign from the state’s driver licensing office free of cost.

 Keep track of time as being a Learner, you should not be driving after midnight. You are not allowed to drive from 12:00 AM to 5:00 AM. As soon as midnight strikes, get back to your home and don’t think of driving till sunrise. It does not require an explanation but these restrictive driving hours are for safety purposes as driving in dark increases the chance of accidents and vehicle collisions. 

 Driving and drinking do not go hand in hand. The driver must restrict the use of alcohol when hitting the road. Zero Alcohol policy has been proven very beneficial. Well, if you are sitting behind the wheel with alcohol in your system, your license will be suspended for 12-hrs instantly.

 The number of passengers is limited to two. By two individuals, the law means your supervisor and one other passenger that could be any friend, family, or a relative.

 No distractions while driving is one of the most significant rules that you must follow. With an L license, you must not be caught using smartphones (messaging or calling) while driving, not even wireless. The use of electronic devices is highly restricted.

 Coming to one of the most essential restrictions is “No driver with an L license can drive alone”. You can only drive under the supervision of the skilled driver who must be of 25 or more years of age, must not be drinking or consuming any drug, and have a valid licence from class 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5. The supervisor should always be sitting in the front passenger seat, right by the side of the driver. The other option is to sit exactly behind the driver’s seat.

New Driver License/Novice Driver (Class 7N) 

Once you have skilled the driving tactics and completed 12months with an L license, you will be granted an N license, giving you a bit of freedom.


 The restriction on driving alone will be lifted. Now, you can drive wherever you want without needing a supervisor or an instructor. 

 Just like the L sign, now you must replace it with an N letter. It will let the other road users know that you are a new driver. Put the letter on a visible spot for a clear understanding. The driver can get the letter sign from the state’s driver licensing office free of cost.

 For safety purposes, you must not be using any electronic device, regardless if it is hand-held or wireless. It can be a big distraction.

 Drinking means no driving. Having alcohol more than 0.5% in the blood means you are not sober enough to handle wheels. Plus, a novice driver must not have cocaine or tetrahydrocannabinol in the system, too.

 As there will be no supervisor so the limit of carrying passengers is one. Do you have family members or immediate relatives with you in the car? If yes, then you can have more than one passenger at a time. But remember, you can have only as many people as you have seat-belts.

 In case of getting the license deferred/suspended, annulled, expired, or surrendered, you would have to wait for a prolonged time for qualifying for a full driving licence.

 The restriction of driving hours from midnight to sunrise no longer applies.

 The driver has legal permission to drive on the freeway or highway.

Penalties For Breaking Laws

 The license will get immediate suspended

 You will face heavy charges

 As detention, the driver must take a special driving course

 The limit of having passengers will be minimized 

 The driver will be restricted to drive for particular hours at specified times of the day

 Violating the drug-and-alcohol restriction will be considered a Criminal Code offense

 ✓  Your vehicle’s insurance will be annulled

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