What is graduated licensing?

Graduated licensing is a gradual, step-by-step licensing process that's designed to help new drivers acquire the knowledge and skills they need to operate a motor vehicle safely.
The most significant feature of graduated increasing driving is that it enables new drivers to gain experience in conditions where the risk of having a collision is low.
This is accomplished by gradually increasing driving privileges during the new driver's first two years on the road.
While graduated licensing new drivers, it has already been introduced in New Zealand, Australia, and in some U.S. states-where it has been proven to help reduce collisions, serious injuries and traffic-related fatalities involving new drivers.

Why do we need graduated licensing?

In 1991, road collisions in Ontario injured 90,519 people and resulted in 1,102 deaths. In fact, collisions of Ontario young people between the ages of 16 and 24. Although drivers under the age of 25 make up about one-sixth of all licensed drivers in Ontario, they represent almost one-quarter of all drivers killed in collisions. But, statistics reveal that all new drivers, regardless of their age, have a much higher risk of having a collicion than drivers with as little as two to five years of experience.
In addition to the pain, suffering, and trauma caused by road crashes each year, the Ministry of Transportation estimates that Ontario residents spend about $4 billion on health care, property damage, insurance claims and lost wages resulting from collisions.
After considerable research and study, the Ministry of Transportation, provincial safety groups, the insurance industry and many other interested organizations and individials drivers is the best approach to reducing the higher-than-average collision rate of new drivers in Ontario. Graduated licensing's most important benefit is that it helps provide new drivers with a safer learning environment in which to develope thier driving skills.

How would Ontario's proposed graduated licensing program work?

Under graudated licensing, new drivers would obtain a driver's license in two stages, Level One, and Level Two, that in total, takes a minimum of 20 months to complete. During this apprenticeship period, new drivers hold a licence that helps protect them from potentially risky situation on the road, such as driving at night, driving alone, driving after drinking any alcohol, driving with too many passengers in the vehicles, and driving on high-speed, congested highways-situations in which in inexperienced drivers are much more likely to be involved in a crash. As drivers gain more experience and learn more advanced driving skills, their license restrictions are removed.
After graduated licensing takes effect in the spring of 1994, all new aplicants for a Class G (passenger vehicle) or Class M (motorcycle) license will go through the two licensing levels.
Level One: To enter Level One, both Class G and Class M drivers will have to be at least 16 years of age; pass a vision test to ensure that their eyesight meets the provincial standard for drivers; and pass a written test of their knowledge of the rules of the road. In addition, Level One Class G drivers will be required to:
maintain a zero blood alcohol level when driving;
be accompainied by a fully licensed driver who has at least four years of driving experience, who is authorized to operate a Class G motor vehicle, and whose measurable blood alcohol is less than .05 percent;
refrain from driving on "400-series" highways and vertain designated multilane urban expressways;
refrain from driving between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m.;
display a vehicle sign indicating their new driver status to other drivers (a standard sign will be provided by the government to all new drivers entering Level One)
limit the numbers of passengers they carry to the number of seat belts in the vehicle; and
drive Class G vehicles only, which includes passenger cars, vans or small trucks.

Level One will last 12 months. (New Class G drivers will have the option of reducing their Level One period to eight months by successfully completing an approved driver education course.)
Class M (motorcycle) drivers in Level One will be required to:
maintain a zero blood alcohol level when driving;
drive only during daylight hours (defined as the period from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset);
refrain from driving on highways posted at more than 80 km/h, unless no alternative route is available; and
carry no passengers.

Level One will last for a minimum of 60 days for Class M license holders and the Level One license will be valid for a maximum of 90 days.
At the end of Level One, both Class G and Class M drivers will be required to pass a road test to their driving skills before being eligible to proceed to Level Two.

Level Two: Level Two will last a minimum of 12 months for new Class G drivers, and 22 months for Class M drivers (Level Two motorcyclists will have the option of reducing their Level Two period from 22 to 18 months by completing an approved motocycle safety course).
Level Two will allow more driving privileges than Level One, since Level Two drivers have more driving experience. In Level Two, Class G drivers will be required to:
maintain a zero blood alcohol level when driving;
limit the number of passengers they carry to the number of seat belts in the vehicle; and
drive Class G vehicles only.

For Class M drivers, the only restriction in Level Two will be to maintain a zero blood alcohol level when driving.
After completing Level Two, new Class G and Class M drivers will be eligible to take a test on advanced driving skills that tests the driver's ability to percieve and avoid hazards, in order to qualify for full licence privileges.

How will the transition from the current system be handled?

Ontario's new graduated licensing system is expected to take effect in the spring of 1994. On the date graduated licensing goes into effect, all drivers who hold a valid Class "L" or "R" (learner's) licence under the current system may continue to follow the old learner licensing rules until they are ready to attempt the Level One road test. They will not be subject to the mandatory Level One time period before entering Level Two.
Drivers who pass the Level One road test will become Level Two novice drivers. Drivers who fail the Level One test will become Level One novice drivers. However, they will be given appropriate credit for the time they have spent under the learner system.
Drivers with probationary licence status when graduated licensing is implemented will continued to be considered as probationary drivers, remaining in the current system until they achieve fully licensed status. Drivers who do not reach fully licensed status within a predetermined time limit will be converted to novice, Level Two. But no new probationary drivers will be created after the program is implemented.

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