Perpetuating Mediocrity

New Driver SignsI stopped a vehicle being driven at 96 km/h in a posted 50 km/h construction zone the other day. Approaching the passenger side, I spoke with the woman in the front seat and the young lady driving. When I explained why I stopped them, the woman suggested that she was unable to get the driver to slow down, and maybe I could do something about it. The driver produced a learner driver's license and no L was displayed on the vehicle.

To me, the solution was simple. The woman should have denied her daughter access to the vehicle unless she was willing to follow the traffic rules.

After they had departed and I sat doing the notes for the violation ticket I had issued, I wondered to myself if maybe it wasn't so simple. Perhaps this woman should not have been given the privilege of teaching her daughter to drive. If the teacher is ill equipped to teach, the new driver will not learn what is necessary to drive correctly and safely.

Yes, ICBC does test the new driver to see if they meet standards as they progress through the Graduated Licensing Program. These standards are much more stringent than they were when I took my driver's test 30 years ago. The trouble is, attitude can easily be hidden for the duration of a test, but put back on as soon as the driver hits the highway alone.

Perhaps this young lady would be better off taking the complete GLP package at a driving school. She will receive instruction in both the mechanics and the ethics of being a good driver that she might not be getting at home.



I see that this is an old post ...

... but so far as I'm aware the consequences of this type of behaviour by an 'L' Driver would have been, and still are, severe; speeding in and of itself would be enough for 3 demerits and consequent license suspension (because she was within the Graduated Licensing period) along with a re-commencement of the one-year waiting period before she would be eligible to apply for her Class 7 'N' Road Test.

96 km/h in a 50 km/h zone would surely be enough to earn an additional penalty for being more than 40 km/h over the posted limit.  And of course, failure to display the 'L' should result in further penalties/costs to the driver as a separate offence.

Not only should the parent have denied access to the vehicle, she (or whoever signed permission for the teenager to obtain that 'L' license) should seriously consider whether to try and have it revoked; of course, this could be academic so long as the license remains under suspension.

Driver education - any education - will only work with those who are willing to listen.  You can take a horse to water ... or maybe you just need to wait a year or two before determining that the youngster has reached a level of maturity where they might once again be permitted behind the wheel.



I have no idea the cost in man hours, or money, but I firmly believe every single driver in B.C. should have to re-test every 10 years, or 5 for class 1.

maybe randomly pick 10% every year, never the same one in 10?

like all the brouhaha about MELT, by all means raise the bar for training, but it should be the TESTING that weeds out the inept, and requires them to become a better driver before the are given a license.

I firmly believe, as do many others, the graduated licensing is necessary for classes below or above 5.

apologies for getting off track.


IFIXCATS Mobile Heavy Equipment Repair.

Re-testing? If you can qualify once, why not umpteen times?

James, I understand your point of view - but I don't think you understand the limitations of testing. 

Whether it be achieving the necessary minimum standards for High School Graduation, University Degree, Driver License, Veterinary Surgeon, Flag Person, Pilot, or whatever - that's all that can be measured.

As our site host succinctly pointed out:

The trouble is, attitude can easily be hidden for the duration of a test, but put back on as soon as the driver hits the highway alone.

And mandatory re-testing cannot change this, whether it's the arrogant teenager who figures they 'know better' than to behave in the way they needed to in order to qualify for their license in the first place (and then breaks all the rules the moment they're left to their own devices) or the Class 1 Owner/Operator who 'checks' his airbrake system by making a brake application and seeing how much the gauge drops - or who is in the habit of using the hand valve so as to use only the trailer brakes most of the time - repeated testing isn't going to make a blind bit of difference.

Over the course of my career, I've taken several tests. Class 5 Driver License, Class 3 Driver License, Class 4 Driver License, Class 5 Driving Instructor License, Class 1 Driver License ... and I've also undergone the necessary training to become an Examiner (a different role from an Instructor, though they're often confused). Which in my case means a Training Assessment Officer for Class 4 Applicants, also a TAO for Class 5 Driving Instructors, an ICBC Driver Examiner for Class 4 & Class 5, and a DriveABLE Examiner. So honestly, I think I understand this stuff - and better than most quite frankly.

Am I saying that there is no place for additional testing of a supposedly qualified person's abilities, even though they've previously earned their license? Not at all!

In the UK for instance, when a driver is convicted of a serious offence(s), it's now customary that they not only have a finite ban on driving, plus fines and court costs, but that the ban will only be lifted after they then take - and pass - an 'Advanced' Driving Test requiring a much higher standard than was necessary for them to hold a license in the first place.

Here in BC (and most relatively stringent jurisdictions) all drivers are required to undergo a Driver Medical examination on or about their 80th birthday - something you and I have been doing since we were half that age - but in the case of seniors the issue isn't fundamental ability to operate the vehicle, but to cognitively function as a driver. They'll either be required to repeat that process every couple of years (if they're medically fit), or if there's a concern then they'll need to take a Re-Examination to ensure their fitness behind the wheel.


Separately, I do agree with you on the 'Graduated Licensing' concept also being applied to professional licensees i.e. Class 1, 2, 3 & 4.

The current situation, not only in BC but across Canada and the US, is that (particularly for Class 1 Drivers) demand for drivers considerably exceeds supply. Many employers are ready to scrape the bottom of the barrel and take on whomever in order to get their goods moved to market. In the last couple of years I've travelled in BC, Alberta, Nevada, Hawaii, and Arizona. All over the place, the rigs have big signs advertising for drivers.

Politics notwithstanding, this is not the time for licensing jurisdictions to ease up on their standards for economic reasons. Hell, no. This is the time for licensing jurisdictions to set higher standards to ensure that Truck Drivers and Bus Drivers are actually qualified professionals.

If BC and other Licensing Authorities are to achieve this, then re-testing Class 5 drivers every ten years to see if they still remember how to use their turn signals or stop at stop signs has to be way down on their priority list.

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