Alberta is making changes to the Graduated Driver’s Licensing program by removing the advanced road test drivers have to take to get their full Class 5 or Class 6 licence.
Effective Saturday, drivers currently in the GDL program won’t have to take the test, saving them $154 in test fees and the hassle of booking the second road test.
There are currently 700,000 drivers in the program that has existed for nearly two decades, according to the province.
“There are close to half a million drivers who will benefit from this. These changes will help GDL drivers exit the program and apply for other classes of driver’s licences whether it’s for a semi-truck, gravel truck or bus,” said Devin Dreeshen, minister of transportation and economic corridors.
Under the current system, new drivers with a learner’s, or Class 7, licence must have a fully licensed person seated next to them while driving, can’t drive between midnight and 5 a.m. and have no drugs or alcohol in their system while driving.
To get a probationary Class 5 licence, drivers must have had their learner’s licence for a year, pass a basic road test and meet a number of other conditions. To get a full licence, drivers then had to wait at least two years before passing an advanced road test.
Now, drivers with a GDL will receive a letter from the government letting them know their restrictions have been lifted.
Starting June 25, new government technology will automatically remove eligible drivers who “have demonstrated safe driving behaviours … to non-GDL status,” the province said in a news release.
“Requiring a second test costs too much, it’s a roadblock to finding jobs and has created unnecessary red tape for my generation,” said Mount Royal Student Mark Emes. “The elimination of the Class 5 and Class 6 advanced road tests under the Graduated Driver Licensing program is one of the most significant cost-saving and red tape reduction measures introduced for young Alberta drivers.”
To exit the program, drivers can’t have any suspensions or demerits in the last 12 months, be at least 18 years old and completed two full years of probationary driving.
The probationary period will be extended another year for those who do not follow the requirements or are ticketed for unsafe driving.
The GDL program was introduced in 2003 and put new drivers on a 24-month probationary period until they passed the advanced test.
According to the province, about 65 per cent of drivers and 99 per cent of motorcycle riders didn’t take the road test in the past five years.
— With files from The Canadian Press