November 14, 2005 by Canadian Underwriter
The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) and the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) have released a study that calls for measures to improve graduated driver licensing (GDL) across the country.
The report calls on provincial governments to improve GDL programs by limiting the number of teenage passengers in GDL programs, raising the age of supervisory drivers, extending night driving restrictions in Phase 2, and ensuring drivers remain in Phase 1 of the program for at least one full year.
Most provinces in Canada implemented some form of graduated licensing in the ’90s. All programs are shown to have reduced collision rates among novice drivers, according to the IBC.
In a press release, the IBC notes that collision reduction rates have been as high as 31% and as low as 5% since the introduction of GDL programs.
“But despite evidence of success, young drivers are still at high risk for dangerous collisions,” Daniel Mayhew, TIRF’s senior vice president, says. “Drivers 16-19 years of age have a fatality rate that is four times that of drivers age 25-34 and nine times that of 45-54 year olds.”
“Graduated licensing programs currently in place in Canada can, at best, be described as a good start,” Don Forgeron, vice president of IBC’s Atlantic bureau, says. “There is lots of room for improvement especially in places like P.E.I., whose program lacks the most critical elements of graduated licensing, and Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, where the systems are not as effective as they should be.
“Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were among the first jurisdictions to implement graduated licensing,” says Forgeron. “Now that we have groundbreaking research to serve as a road map for the evolution of graduated licensing, will they be leaders again?”
In a study entitled, Best Practices for Graduated Driver Licensing in Canada, TIRF compares GDL programs in Canada to international programs. The study also provides an overview of what components would be included in the ideal GDL program.