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14054048_10205413537777921_3568239984566249564_nSophie did it, she powered through the “L” (learner’s) phase of getting a driver’s license, and got to the “N” (new driver) stage. As I wrote a year and a half ago, things are not exactly set up well, nor is motivation terribly high, for my kids to become licensed drivers. Neither Noah nor Erin have bothered thus far. But Sophie figured she might as well take the leap and do her road test before moving away to university. Granted, she will not have access to a car, and will have free public transit, for the four years of her post-secondary degree, but she knew that the road test would not likely get any easier, and would only get more costly to practice for, once she’d moved far from home.

It turned out that the only appointment she could get for the road test in August was during the week Chuck and I were away in Ontario (and could neither drive her to the testing location, nor put the car at her disposal for the test itself). So she had to arrange with a nearby driving school to hire one of their cars, and pay an instructor to give her a pre-test lesson to familiarize her with the car and give her a quick professional brush-up. She did that. The car was great. The instructor was great. The road test went well, and she was awarded the Green N.

For at least the next two years, until she takes and passes the next level of road test, she’ll need to put a Green N on any vehicle she is driving. She’ll need to keep a clean driving record, have zero alcohol in her system when driving, not drive between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. and never carry more than one passenger. Since she doesn’t have a car to drive those restrictions aren’t a big deal.

In the week before she left for university, she did at least get the chance to drive on her own a couple of times.







2 responses to “Licensed!”

  1. Erin J. Avatar
    Erin J.

    Wow, the Canadian system of ensuring early drivers stay safe is way better than here. Although we have learner’s permits, once you get a license, it’s sink or swim! Or text or drink or load the car up with friends or drive all night. None of which is a smart idea.

    1. Miranda Avatar

      Erin, I think some form of graduated licensing is good, but I’m not entirely convinced that in the case of rural kids like mine, this particular system helps keep them safe. Why? Because it pushes the more fully-fledged stages of driving into the years when they are not likely to have the guidance and support of parents, or affordable access to a vehicle. I am pleased the Sophie has reached this stage, but really, there’s not much point to it. Having moved away from home she will be hard-pressed to build on her skills for at least the next four years. Whereas if she had been able to get fully licensed a year ago, she could have been using that license to consistently gain experience in the interim. Now she’ll be really hard-pressed to build on what she’s got. It would be nice if that four year gap in driving access/experience that is typical when rural kids pursue post-secondary studies came a year or two later in the graduated licensing continuum, i.e. after they’ve built a base of experience. I’m sure Sophie would have ended up a safer, better driver over the long term it she’d been able to do that.

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