A recent CBC news article touched on the challenges facing young drivers during the pandemic. Since the second lockdown started in December, nearly 40,000 driver’s licence road tests have been cancelled.

Throughout the summer, there were huge line-ups outside Ministry of Transportation offices in Toronto. Soon-to-be drivers had to line up from the crack of dawn to have a chance of getting in to do their written test (G1 licence) before the close of business.

The G1 permit used to be called the ‘365’ and was intended to last up to a year as part of the drivers’ education process. To get a G2 licence, young drivers have to pass a road test. Once they’ve reached this level, they can drive alone, without a licensed adult next to them, and can even travel on major highways. After one more year, a second road test is required to obtain a full G licence.

But with the recent emergency orders in Ontario, all in-vehicle road tests have been cancelled across the province – until further notice.

Before the recent province-wide ‘stay-at-home’ order took effect, drivers seeking to book their road tests found delays of two years for first available appointments. Once the restrictions are lifted, the backlog may be eve longer.

One would assume that the Ministry of Transportation will hire more examiners and increase the number of tests to clear out the backlog. It’s just not fair to make teens wait years for a road test they’ve prepared for.

The moral of the story is that teens should get the process started on acquiring their driver’s licence the second they turn 16. Enroll in driving school and get your road test booked, pronto. Even if teenagers today no longer view the Driver’s Licence as a ‘rite of passage’ into young adulthood, it is a life skill. Don’t waste the opportunity when it’s available!

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