ICBC can and will withhold your renewal of your driver's license, or reinstatement of a suspended license until these amounts are fully paid if they are owed to ICBC.
Driver Penalty Point Premium
The Driver Penalty Point Premium is based on the number of "points" you have on your driving record. Different traffic offences have different point levels, and the premium is based on the number of points you accumulate in a one-year period. If in a one-year period you receive three or fewer points, then you will not have to pay the premium. For example, if you receive a regular speeding ticket you will be given three points. You will not have to pay the premium. However, if you get a regular speeding ticket and a ticket for disobeying a traffic sign, you will accumulate five points. You will be required to pay the premium.
The amount of the premium is based on the number of points you have. For four points, it is $175. By six points, it jumps to $300. The premium goes as high as $24,000, if you get 50 points in a one-year period. You'd have to be pretty committed to poor driving to achieve that, so don't stress that this will happen to you. You can see a chart that calculates the amount on ICBC's website.
Points are associated generally with driving behaviour that creates a risk to the public. The number of points is generally linked to the type of behaviour. A chart setting out the point level for various offences can be found here.
The time period in which ICBC will consider points accumulated is five months before your birthday. I was born in May, so ICBC will look at points accumulated on my driving record from January to December.
Driver Risk Premium
The Driver Risk Premium is assessed based on conduct that violates the Criminal Code, has a ten-point value under the Motor Vehicle Act or results in a roadside suspension. Two roadside suspensions are necessary before the Premium is triggered. You will also receive a Driver Risk Premium if you are issued an excessive speeding ticket.
Driver Risk Premiums are calculated on your birthday every year, over a three year period. A review of your past three years of driving will be done to determine whether you are required to pay this premium. The table located here outlines the premium values. As you can see, the amounts add up quickly, and escalate rapidly.
If you are assessed a Driver Penalty Point Premium and a Driver Risk Premium, you will only have to pay one of the two. You pay whichever is higher. So, for example, excessive speeding is worth 3 points. If you receive an excessive speeding ticket and a ticket for disobeying a yellow light, which has two points, you'll have five points. But the Driver Risk Premium is higher than the penalty point premium, so you'll pay that. This can come back to haunt you -- the Driver Risk Premium is over three years, so you can end up paying penalty point premiums one year, and the Driver Risk Premium the following two years.
One example of this is if you are convicted of Driving While Prohibited under the Motor Vehicle Act, you'll receive 10 points. You will then pay the Driver Penalty Point Premium for those ten points, followed by the Driver Risk Premium the following two years.
Can I get the Driver Risk Premium or the Driver Penalty Point Premium Reduced?
You cannot get the Driver Risk Premium reduced.
However, you can apply for a reduction in the Driver Penalty Point Premium. In order to have it eliminated completely, you must surrender your license for one year from your birthday. This means no driving for one year. Alternatively, it can be reduced if you voluntarily quit driving for at least 30 days. You can voluntarily surrender your license to ICBC at any point to seek a reduction. After 30 days, you can call ICBC and find out what your new amount owing will be.
If you are given a driving prohibition, you can also apply for a reduction of the amount owing. You will need to be suspended from driving for at least 60 days, pay the reinstatement fees, and reinstate your license. In all likelihood the $250 reinstatement fee and $31 short term license administration fee will outweigh any benefit to you unless your Driver Penalty Point Premium is very high.
Finally, if you've been licensed in another province for at least 30 days, living outside Canada, incarcerated, or medically unable to drive for at least 30 days, you can apply for a reduction. You will need documentation to prove to ICBC that you have met one of these exemptions.