As the holiday season begins, government is reminding B.C.’s newest drivers of safety-related licence restrictions that can put your travel plans in “park.”

Under B.C.’s Graduated Licensing Program (GLP), learner and novice drivers face extra conditions designed to give them time to learn key road safety skills and attitudes that save lives and reduce
injuries for all road users. New drivers are more prone to crashes, and one in four of their crashes result in an injury or death.

New drivers should keep the following in mind as they plan parties and related travel:

* No drinking before driving! GLP drivers – whether they’re in the learner or novice stage – cannot have any alcohol in their body when they drive. Any alcohol in their system means an immediate, 12-hour driving suspension.
* Keep your entourage small! Learners must have a supervisor on board who is at least 25 years old, and can only carry one other person. Novice drivers can carry only one passenger, unless accompanied by a supervisor or by passengers who are immediate family members.
* Listen for the clock to strike midnight! Learners are not permitted to drive between midnight and 5 a.m.
* Don’t go planning your party at the wheel! GLP drivers cannot use hand-held or hands-free cell phones or any other electronic devices while driving. New drivers – particularly those under 25 – use electronic devices more. This, combined with their inexperience, makes them more vulnerable to driver distraction.
* Remember this decoration year-round! Don’t forget to display an
“L” or an “N” sign, as required by law, clearly visible on the back of your vehicle or inside the back window.

More experienced drivers can set a good example for their newer and younger counterparts by never drinking and driving. Remember, impaired driving can cost you your life and those of others, not to
mention your licence, your vehicle and a lot more – about $600 in penalties if you blow a “warn” on an approved screening device at the roadside, and more than $4,000 if you blow a “fail.”