Proposed changes to Nova Scotia’s Graduated Driver’s Licence program will help reduce crashes and injury risk for new drivers.
Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Geoff MacLellan tabled the amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act today, Oct. 23.
“The majority of collisions on the road are predictable and preventable,” said Mr. MacLellan. “The legislative changes we’re introducing today will strengthen the Graduated Driver’s Licence program and help reduce the number of serious and fatal injury crashes in our province.”
The three proposed changes to the program, and effective dates, are:
— Drivers must maintain zero blood alcohol content for two years after they complete the learner/beginner and newly licenced phases of the program. This new requirement is effective April 1, 2015.
— Supervisory drivers must be fully licenced for at least two years after they complete the learner/beginner and newly licensed phases of the program. Currently a new driver can be a supervisory driver immediately after getting a full licence. This will be effective April 1, 2015.
— The learner/beginner phase of the program will be 12 months. Currently the learner/beginner phase is six months. It will still be possible to have three months taken off the phase if an approved driver training program is completed. This will be effective April 1, 2016.
An amendment was also introduced for people who have permanently lost their driver’s licence after a fourth Criminal Code conviction on charges of impairment by drugs or alcohol while driving, stunting, or driving while disqualified.
Effective April 1, 2015, the mandatory requirement to permanently revoke a driver’s licence will be removed and people can apply to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles to be reinstated. People who have committed serious Criminal Code offences will not be considered.
“We’re proposing this change in response to MADD Canada’s recommendations, and to recognize that many drivers who have lost their licence for impaired driving continue to drive uninsured, unregistered and unlicenced, putting themselves and others at risk on the road,” said Mr. MacLellan. “It will allow the province to monitor drivers deemed high risk.”
The Graduated Driver’s Licence program gradually moves new drivers from low-risk situations to higher-risk ones after gaining driving experience. This includes night curfews, knowledge testing and driving courses.