Victoria, British Columbia – British Columbia has introduced a number of changes to the Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) to enhance road safety and streamline the administrative process.

In response to a growing number of motorcyclists and a corresponding rise in the number of fatalities, all motorcycle drivers and their passengers will be required to wear a helmet that meets certified safety industry standards. Drivers will be responsible for ensuring that passengers under the age of 16 are wearing an approved helmet. Unapproved helmets will be subject to potential seizure by police.

In addition, new inexperienced riders will be restricted to less-powerful motorcycles, with restrictions to be determined and set out in regulations. All passengers, including those under the age of 16, must be able to position their feet on foot pegs or floor boards.

A change to the MVA will help health care professionals by clarifying the medical conditions or impairments that affect the ability to drive, and must be reported to the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles. Occupational therapists and nurse practitioners have also been added to the current list of psychologists, optometrists and medical practitioners who have a duty and authority to report under the act.

To further enhance road safety, the exemption for not wearing a seatbelt for a medical reason is being discontinued, as current medical advice is that there are no medical reasons to not wear a seatbelt.

A change to the MVA will extend the current six-month limit on “home country” driver’s licences for seasonal agricultural workers to a maximum of one year. Currently, these workers can drive in the province for up to six months before being required to obtain a B.C. licence.

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