Amid increased demands for the G class road test due to the pandemic, the Ontario Government has announced it will be temporarily removing some elements of the test to increase the number of appointments that can be made each day.
A spokesperson for the Minister of Transportation said in a statement the change is being made to clear the backlog of road tests created by COVID-19 restrictions.
“In light of the increased demand for class G road tests, DriveTest is modifying the G road test to offer more road test appointments each day while removing duplicative elements from the G2 test,” Dakota Brasier said. “The G2 road test remains unchanged.”
The provincial government explained that “duplicative” and repetitive manoeuvres from the G2 tests, such as the roadside stops, 3-point-turns, and parallel parking, will be temporarily paused in the G class road test.
According to the government, highway and major road driving will still be evaluated.
“This will allow for more streamlined tests while continuing to evaluate driver skills alongside new skills such as highway driving requirements,” Brasier said, adding that the modified version of the test still meets national standards.
While the changes will allow driving centres to conduct 30 percent more tests per day, according to the government, the president and CEO of the Ontario Safety League, an organization founded to reduce preventable deaths and injuries on the road, says it isn’t worth the potential ramifications on the streets.
“It’s being driven by the backlog, [it] is being driven by, I would think, daily complaints to every MPP about the backlog, but at the end of the day, training drivers is a lifetime skill and evaluating them to a reasonable standard is an expectation of all Ontarians. And we’re not meeting that with this change,” said Brian Patterson, the President and CEO of the Ontario Safety League.
“The people who are substandard drivers and wouldn’t have passed under the regular regime have a chance of sneaking through now.”
According to Patterson, the new tests will include significantly fewer right and left-hand turns very little residential driving, and fewer road stops at intersections. And once an individual passes their “G” road test, they don’t have to be re-evaluated until they are around 80 years old.
“It has been tested, tried and true, for 25 years,” Patterson said of the traditional road test. “It’s consistent with testing in [and] across the provinces, generally. I’m not aware of a single jurisdiction in the world that has a 15-minute in-vehicle test.”
“I never exaggerate, but this is one of those scenarios where significant property damage can occur. Significant personal injury can occur.”
The changes are temporary and will be in effect until at least March 31. However, Brasier noted that the ministry can extend that date if necessary.
As of early December, the Ministry of Transportation said that at least 421,827 drive tests have been cancelled since the pandemic was declared in March 2020.
The backlog has also led people to use social media platforms like Facebook Marketplace, Instagram and Kijiji to sell road test appointments for a fee.
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