March 19, 2015 4:36 pm
Updated: March 19, 2015 6:30 pm

Scarborough man gets driver’s licence back, credits Global News


TORONTO – David Wallace, 67, can once again legally drive, but his brush with government bureaucracy has left him fuming.

Initially diagnosed by an emergency room doctor as having had a mini-stroke, Wallace’s driver’s licence was automatically suspended.    Even though within days a neurologist gave him a clear bill of health, attributing his medical troubles to an allergic reaction, Wallace was faced with a 30 business day wait to get his licence back.   A waiting time the Ministry of Transportation called “reasonable.”

“If it wasn’t for Global News I would still be sitting here frustrated,” said Wallace, crediting media coverage for speeding up the process after ministry employees initially claimed it would be at least another three weeks until his file was processed.

The original story on Wallace prompted numerous email to Global News from other drivers in similar situations, and opposition MPPs say calls from frustrated suspended drivers is one of the main complaints to their constituency offices.

WATCH: (March 12) See the original story on David Wallace’s suspended licence. 

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The most recent figures for Ontario show more than 26,000 drivers had their licenses suspended.   Calls to the ministry hotline to begin the process of getting driving privileges back numbered more than 280,000 in the same year.

For Wallace, getting someone to actually pick up the phone was a tall order.   He says he waited on the line for hours at a time several different times and once even at 3:30 a.m.

“No one ever answered,” he said.

With some help from his tech savvy daughter, Wallace posted the Global News story to Twitter, Facebook, and the Minister of Transportation’s website.   He says the unwanted attention for the government clearly helped his case.

“For the government to say they are serving drivers is spurious,” Wallace said.

The ministry denied Wallace’s claim was sped up because of media coverage, and Minister Steven Del Duca issued a statement saying in part:  “the Ministry is currently meeting or exceeding our public service guarantee” and the 30 day waiting period is “a responsible amount of time.”

Road Safety advocate Brian Patterson disagrees.   The head of the Ontario Safety League says the government has to do better.

“We have to get it far faster than that.  Especially when the medical community can give a clean bill of health and we’re just waiting for a review of that decision,” says Patterson.

© 2015 Shaw Media

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