Tips for Drivers to Avoid the Risks of Driving Unlicensed or Uninsured

PRESS RELEASE: February 23, 2012 - Driving without a license or without insurance are a bigger risk than many people think, and provides the important facts every driver should know about being legal on the road. A valid driver’s license and proof of insurance might be simply a pieces of paper, but they are also the important legal documents than ensure every car on the road is being driven by a tested and financially responsible person who meets every provincial requirement for road safety. Hitting the road without these is illegal and a big risk for everyone.

It is required by law in every province that any driver who gets behind the wheel of a car must meet the legal requirements. This means they must hold a valid driver’s license and carry insurance that meets the minimum coverage required by provincial law. Driving without one or the other may seem like a minor thing, but wants drivers to know that if caught, they will face very serious consequences.

Driving Without a License

No matter what the reason is for a driver not having a valid license, there is no excuse for being on the road without it. This is among the more serious offences according to the Highway Safety Act. Anyone who drives without a license is endangering the lives of the others on the road because, according to the law, they aren’t qualified to be behind the wheel. A driver cannot be on the road in any of these circumstances:

  • The driver has never been licensed
  • The driver’s license has been suspended
  • The driver’s license is expired
  • The driver is on a graduated licensing system and does not have the required fully licensed driver in the vehicle.

Making the decision to get behind the wheel knowing that the legal requirements are not met is a major offence. The potential consequences of being caught driving without a license depend on the province where the offense takes place and the circumstances but include:

  • Impoundment of the vehicle, regardless of who owns it
  • Receiving a ticket accompanied by a fine
  • Cost of any towing and impound fees
  • Increases in your insurance rates

It is also important to note that if an unlicensed driver is behind the wheel when an accident occurs, a car insurance company may refuse to pay the claim. "Having a license is a part of your contractual agreement with the insurance company," reminds’s Tammy Ezer, "and if you break that contract they may consider it void and refuse coverage."

Driving Without Insurance

The legal requirement for insurance coverage on every vehicle that enters a Canadian road is in place to ensure that everyone is financially responsible for their actions. Driving without insurance is a dangerous proposition that could leave a driver facing some serious consequences, not the least of which is being held responsible for the cost of all repairs and medical bills. Other consequences include:

  • Receiving a ticket and accompanying fine
  • Increased insurance rates
  • Demerit points on your license

There is a difference between driving uninsured and failure to provide proof of insurance. A driver who does have auto insurance but is unable to produce proof when stopped by law enforcement may still face a fine, but it will be less serious than if the driver is actually uninsured.

Drivers should never get behind the wheel without a valid license and the required insurance policy. Be sure when lending a vehicle that the driver is licensed, and remember that insurance follows the vehicle; if an accident occurs the owner of the vehicle will be held responsible for damages. Staying legal on the road is the best way to go.