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Guelph driving instructors worry about Ontario's modified road test

Ontario is temporarily removing elements of the G-level road test to allow more tests to be booked and completed
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A person walking through the DriveTest Centre parking lot on Woodlawn Road. Ariel Deutschmann/GuelphToday

Local driving instructors are worried about the dangers that lie ahead with the new changes to the G-level road test.

Earlier this week, the province announced that to help reduce a backlog caused by COVID-19 restrictions and closures, it is temporarily removing some elements of the test, including parallel parking, three-point turns and roadside stops, all of which are also assessed in the G2 level test. The measure is intended to shorten test times and allow more tests to be booked and completed.

Paul Singh, owner of ABC College Driving School, who has been teaching driving for 25 years said many of his instructors are worried about the province’s decision. 

He said just because a student passed certain elements of the G2 test doesn’t mean they are skilled enough to pass it in a test again. 

“The skills of a driver are also part of their driving,” said Singh. 

He said while it is understandable to make temporary changes, the government should not extend the changes past the stated date on March 31 because it's a huge safety concern. 

Singh added the removed elements of the road test exist in the first place because they assess how a driver can observe their surroundings, handle a car and maneuver it in different road conditions. 

“Some people have a G2 and they never drive a car on the road, they keep it in their pocket, and when they come out, they don’t know anything,” said Paul. 

Vinod Bhatia from Success Driver Training, who has been teaching for 36 years, says a huge concern is that instructors were not allowed to teach driving during the lockdown in the first place so many instructors were seen giving private lessons for some students while others never had professional lessons at all. 

On top of that, he said the province is still charging the same fee but cutting the testing time. 

“They are not getting any proper instructions and they are going for the tests and we'll be all sharing the road with them,” said Bhatia adding that he has been losing business daily during the lockdown. 

“If my calculation is right, almost 62 per cent of people who are failing the test (G) is because they were going without instructions for the second time,” said Bhatia. 

“It's a dangerous precedent,” said Aman Singh from Excellence Driving School in Guelph who has been instructing for 17 years.

He said the next time these students would be tested on their G test would be in their senior years so getting rid of certain sections of the G test means sending drivers who are not prepared for the next  50 to 60 years of driving. 

He said the 20-minute drive test will technically be reduced in half but if the province is cutting corners on tests, the danger will be on the road. 

“On the ground level when we see some people drive, there are some people who shouldn’t be driving on the road,” said Aman. 

“On top of that, if you are telling people who are G2, not checking them fully, they think that they're good drivers, but the reality is they are becoming a danger to themselves.”


Anam Khan

About the Author: Anam Khan

Anam Khan is a journalist who covers numerous beats in Guelph and Wellington County that include politics, crime, features, environment and social justice
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