March 5, 2018 7:45 pm
Updated: March 6, 2018 2:45 am

ICBC looks at penalizing drivers instead of vehicle owners, among many proposals for change

ICBC wants to make bad drivers pay more, while giving good drivers a break. Catherine Urquhart has more.

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The B.C. government is looking at changes to the length of time it will take drivers to retrieve their ICBC discounts, as well as the driver-based model of insurance and the rules around free at-fault crashes.

It’s a suite of reforms being considered as part of a sweeping public consultation process that the province launched on Monday.

Coverage of ICBC on Globalnews.ca:

“The consistent feedback I have heard from British Columbians is that they think bad drivers should be paying more and good drivers should be paying less,” said Attorney General David Eby.

“The question is who is a bad driver and how much more should they pay.”

The NDP government is struggling to figure out how to cover an expected $1.3-billion loss at the public insurer this year.

The next phase of changes includes making bad drivers pay more and good drivers pay less. But the government still hasn’t determined how to measure what makes a bad driver or a good one.

READ MORE: What’s a bad driver? The B.C. government wants to know what you think

A new consultation website provides five topics to discuss what it calls “rate fairness.”

The topics include claims, driving experience, drivers with minors and serious convictions, discounts for low-risk drivers and the public insurer’s outdated rating system.

One matter upon which the government seeks the public’s input is changing the system to penalize drivers and not vehicle owners.

Under the current system, a vehicle owner is penalized even when someone who borrowed their it ended up in an at-fault crash.

One in five drivers in a crash are actually driving someone else’s car, ICBC said.

WATCH HERE: ‘Scrubbed’ ICBC documents revealed


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The change would require owners to list all people who may drive their vehicles when they obtain insurance.

If an unlisted driver causes a crash, ICBC would charge the owner a one-time fee. The fee would be bigger if the driver lives with the owner, like a child, but is not listed.

“One of the biggest shifts that is talked about is the idea, and it’s the first time we would have done something like this in British Columbia, is that it is actually the driver who is insurer rather than the vehicle,” Eby said.

“So if you lend your vehicle to someone on a regular basis who has a very bad record then your insurance would go up.”

The government also wants to gauge public opinion on changing the rules around at-fault crashes.

Right now, every 13 years, drivers can end up in one at-fault crash and not face an increase in insurance premiums. The province has considered increasing that threshold to 20 years.

READ MORE: B.C. police launch distracted driving blitz as tough new penalties take effect

 The province would change rules so that it would take 10 years to return to pre-crash insurance discount levels, rather than the current three years after an at-fault crash.

“We have some very specific proposals that we are putting to people,” said Eby.

“We have also included a very open ended question and provided space for them to provide feedback.”

Click here to read all the proposals.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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