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Misleading figures - Monday, November 25, 1996

RE.: 'Teen driving deaths down' (November 7, 1996)
The Hamilton Spectator, Forum
Monday, November 25, 1996


As a driving instructor I found this article from Canadian Press very misleading.

To quote the offending line: "The rate of accidents among 16-year-old drivers used to be two to three times as high as the average for the whole population. It's now dropped to the overall level." No kidding!

Under current requirements, a teen driver may obtain a G1 driver's license, equivalent of the old "L" (learners) license on the day he or she turns 16 years. If the teen attends an accredited driver training course, which is 25 hours in class and 10 hours in car, he or she should receive a certificate of completion of the course. Then with the certificate in hand, they become eligible for a 20-minutes G1 exit road test, eight months from the date the G1 was obtained.

Since most 16-year-olds do not obtain their G1 on their 16th birthday, time passes on. Further, if they do not attend a course, they may not go for a G1 exit road test until a whole year has passed from the date of obtaining the G1.

During the G1 period, the restrictions are very logical. Remember that a G1 is still a learners' permit. The G1 driver is not allowed behind the wheel unless the accompanying licensed driver has at least four years of experience.

The G1 driver is not allowed on the highways and a few other high speed roads, unless accompanied by a licensed instructor.

Most parents spend very little teaching driving to their offsprings. The result is that most 16-year-olds get fewer chances to be behind the wheel.

To further muddy the understanding, once a G2 is obtained, there is an additional year to wait before eligibility for a G license is attained.

lt does not take a rocket scientist to figure this math out. There are very few 16 year olds that have a G2 license. Thus their lower numbers do improve statistics.

There is still insufficient data to show how 17 and 18-year-olds are behaving behind the wheel on their own. lt would be interesting to see this age groups' results.

Finally, all persons who have been in a collision, must go through a G2 road test. This is a very demanding 40-minute road test requiring all maneuvers to be done twice. I do not recommend this, even to a seasoned driver, unless he/she has received coaching from a proper driver trainer.

Dez Miklòs jr., Hamilton

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