Due to the high death toll involved with teen driving, the province of Ontario has created a system called the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) law. The GDL program introduces new drivers to the road in stages, over an extended period of time, and within an environment that minimizes the risk to them and other drivers. This enables both young drivers and immigrants to Canada who are unfamiliar with the traffic laws to familiarize themselves with driving, learn critical skills, and gain experience in a safe environment.
So, how does it work?
How Does the Graduated Licensing System Work?
The Graduated Licensing System, or GSL, begins with the application for a license, with proof of your full legal name, date of birth (day/month/year), and a signature. You must bring these documents with you to a DriveTest Centre or to a Travel Point (you can phone ahead to find out where the nearest Travel Point is available and when it is open!) You can also check with www.drivetest.ca.
There is a fee to apply, including the cost of a “knowledge test, “an eye test, a road test, and a five-year licensing fee. For your second road test, and any necessary retests, there may be additional fees. You must prepay your fee to schedule a road test.
You will be asked questions about your health as there are some conditions – either physical or medical – that may disqualify drivers due to safety reasons. After you have received your license, the driver may practice with an adult who has at least four years of driving experience. This individual must have a full G licence. This phase is also known as a G1 licence, which you must practice with for 12 months (although, taking registered driver’s training will reduce this time to 8 months, in most cases).
According to Ontario’s official website when you have a G1 licence you must:
- Maintain a zero-blood alcohol level (no alcohol in your blood)
- Make sure every passenger with you wears a properly working seatbelt
- Not have more than one passenger in the car who is under 21 years of age and not an immediate family member
- Not use a cell phone (including hands-free) or any other handheld electronic device
- Not drive between midnight and 5 a.m.
- Not drive on 400-series highways or high-speed expressways (e.g., 401, Queen Elizabeth Way [QEW], Gardiner Expressway)
- Drive with a fully licensed driver who has:
- At least four years of driving experience
- A blood alcohol level of less than .05 (if this person is 21 and under, their blood alcohol level should be zero)
- The driver accompanying you on the road must be the only other person in the front seat of the vehicle.
Following the time of your G1 licence, you are eligible to book and complete a road test to graduate to the next level of GDL, known as the Provisional Phase or a G2 licence. With a G2 licence you may drive unaccompanied by an experienced driver, at any time of the day (in most cases), and on all Ontario roads.
However, there are still some restrictions, including:
- Having a zero-blood alcohol level
- Carrying only as many passengers as there are working seatbelts
- Not using a cellphone or any other handheld electronic device
- If you are under 19, additional restrictions may apply
To graduate to a full G licence, the final step in the Graduated Driver Licensing initiative, you must pass another road test. After successfully completing both levels of GDL licensing, a driver may be granted full driving privileges.
To help ensure that your child receives all of the necessary support, information, and guidance required for them to be successful on the roads, we recommend enrolling them in a Driver’s Training program. Registered Driver’s Training gives your son or daughter the opportunity to learn the right attitudes and skills needed to keep them safe and confident on the road.
In most cases, this training will also reduce the amount of time a new driver must wait to advance to a G2 licence from 12 months to just 8. With the support of a registered Driving Instructor, your child can even practice their new skills on the road, and you can rest easy knowing it is with guidance of a trained professional.
Ontario Auto Insurance
Once your teen receives a G2 licence they must legally be added to an insurance policy. For some parents, this means adding their new driver to their own pre-existing policy, but for teens who have their own car, they must purchase a new policy for themselves. In a case where the new driver has their own car, they must purchase an auto insurance policy as soon as they buy the vehicle, no matter their level of licensing. This is provided they wish to have coverage in the event of a theft, weather damage, or other situations where the car might be damaged when it is not being used.
This is also true if you are new to Canada and trialing out for your full license while still learning the rules of the road. In order to operate a motor vehicle on public roads in Ontario, they must have auto insurance or be insured under another person’s auto insurance policy.
For more information about auto insurance, you can contact us by phone at 800-361-1072 or you can apply for an auto insurance quote online today.
As your new driver learns this new and important skill, practice is very important. As a parent or the guardian/helper of a new driver, spend as much time as possible helping and teaching your child, dependent, partner, or friend good driving habits.
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