In Ontario, there is something akin to a rite of passage for many teenagers when they reach their 16th birthday. An Ontario driver's licence.
The good news is that it must be earned! To apply for a driver's licence in Ontario, you need to:
- be at least 16 years old;
- pass an eye test; and,
- pass a written test about the rules of the road and traffic signs.
Once you pass both tests, you receive a G1 licence. You are considered a beginner driver and need to practice driving and gain experience. Before you can achieve a full G licence, you have to finish two learning levels – G1 and G2 and pass two road tests.
This process is called "graduated licensing." You have up to five years to finish the whole process. After five years, if you do not get your full G licence, you need to start over.
In Taiwan drivers must be able to wiggle all 10 fingers to pass the medical exam.
Graduated licensing here is fairly recent – some might argue that it's onerous. When it comes to road traffic safety, a more regulated system may, long term, be beneficial – for everyone.
How does the system in Ontario compare with other countries?
In Costa Rica, the written test may be taken at age 13. Driver's education is set to be part of the school curriculum.
Denmark, a small country on a peninsula, make lessons compulsory: training includes skid pan training, advanced driving manoeuvres and even several hours of first aid theory. Beats learning how to parallel park!
A popular tourist destination, the Dominican Republic does have a test – although it's rarely taken – as many Canadians can attest.
Women's rights? Not so in Oman; if a woman is unemployed and wanted to apply for her licence, she must provide a copy of her husband's work permit.
Taiwan? Drivers must be able to wiggle all 10 fingers to pass the medical exam.
In New Delhi, India, the transport department has made it mandatory for vehicle inspectors to sit in with test candidates. Before September 2013, although it was expected that inspectors would sit in the cars, most tests were carried out by eye. By October 2013 the number of licences issued since the clamp down had dropped by half.