Our driver’s licence process needs a tune-up

BY AUSTIN WELLS

Canada’s driver’s licensing system as it stands has existed for years, but the time for change should be now. The way getting a driver’s licence works at the moment seems simple on paper: A G1 level licence is available starting at age 16 after taking a written test, which gives you limited driving abilities, then a G2 after a year and at least 40 hours of experience, which gives you almost full independence on the road, then finally a test for the full G licence.

The fundamental problem with Canada’s system is the time and amount of hoops you need to jump through to be officially licensed. Something the government should consider doing is adopting the system used in the United States. Though the ages change based on the state, the basic idea is that a learner’s permit (essentially a G1) is available for those around ages 14 to 16, and after enough practice and time, a full licence test is available for everyone, with the minimum age usually being 16-18, but again varying on the state.

Having three separate licensing levels is totally unnecessary. All it accomplishes for young drivers is hours upon hours of work (mostly a set amount of hours of road time and countless driving tests and school sessions) and several years of waiting, in addition to having to pay for every level of testing/licensing. The G2 is a particularly useless stage, as drivers are essentially given almost all of the freedoms of a full G licence except for a select few that aren’t of particular importance.

Cutting out one of the G2 or Full G steps to a driver’s licence makes the most sense, as the three-step system is redundant, expensive and time-consuming and simpler two-step systems have proven to be effective in the past, particularly in America.

While arguments can be made regarding the proper age for a permit and licence (a full driver’s licence available for anyone at age 16 seems to be a little risky), a two-step system for those above the age of 16 or in the 16-20 age range is the perfect system for Canada’s youth, and it would help improve the overall system and the experience of all involved by cutting out unnecessary extra tests, time, money and effort.