As incidences of deaths due to irresponsible driving continue to increase, Ontario is taking new precautions to help prevent future road-related tragedies.
The province has rolled out new driving laws that impose harsher punishments on individuals found guilty of distracted driving, including the automatic suspension of licenses and issuing of hefty fines. The RCMP has even released a list of what constitutes as distracted driving, on which they included common (but possibly distracting) activities such as adjusting the radio or eating while behind the wheel.
But some Ontario residents think the better solution is to tackle the issue at its very root — the graduated licensing system.
To obtain a driver's license in Ontario, candidates must go through a graduated licensing system that splits the learning process into three stages. The first stage, G1, is achieved by successfully passing a written test that covers provincial road rules and signs. The second stage, G2, involves a road test which assesses a candidate's driving skills on city roads. The third stage, G, is the final step which fully licenses a candidate after they pass a road test that combines city and highway driving.
While the system seems challenging enough, some Ontario residents think it should still be a lot harder. Matt Elliott of Ford For Toronto wrote a column in Metro News last summer pushing for a more thorough licensing process.
“I’ll admit it: nobody ever taught me how to drive in the city,” he says. “Growing up in suburban Oakville, I learned to drive on quiet residential streets mostly devoid of other traffic and sometimes devoid of sidewalks. At school, we shared tips on which testing centres offered the simplest road tests – people ventured north to farm country based on tales of tests that didn’t even require you to parallel park.”
“The goal was to make the process of getting licensed as easy as possible. So even though I held a license, I remember having no real idea what to do when I first got behind the wheel in downtown Toronto. I learned by doing, which involved a bunch of moving violations and too many near-misses.”
Elliott’s piece found its way to Reddit, where many people quickly became involved in the conversation. Most were in support of Elliott, while others had alternate ideas:
Do you think it should be harder to get a driver’s license in Ontario?