The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has given a pat on the back to the Newfoundland and Labrador authorities who have adopted graduated licensing systems from January 1 of this year.
Atlantic vice president of the IBC, Don Forgeron, says the adoption will go a long way in helping to reduce the unacceptable number of deaths and injuries on the province’s roads and highways. Graduated licensing is a step-by-step process for new drivers to gain hands-on experience, becoming gradually exposed to activities such as night driving and the differences in driving in different seasons.
Ontario introduced a similar program in 1994 and recently announced that overall collisions by novice drivers are down 31% and fatality and injury rates among new drivers are down by 24%. Prior to the introduction of the rule, the fatal collision rate for 16-19 year olds was three times higher than that of the general population. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have also implemented programs in recent years, but with little significant improvements. Forgeron says these anomalies are a result of less comprehensive programs than the Ontario model.
The IBC played a role in bringing the program to Newfoundland, says Forgeron. The focus now turns to Nova Scotia where IBC representatives launched a province-wide education program last summer, collecting 5,000 signatures on a petition in support of enhancing its graduated licensing program.