Police will be watching for new drivers not following restrictions outlined in the Graduated Driver’s Licensing (GDL) and Motorcycle Graduated Driver’s Licensing (MGDL) programs throughout the month of June.
New and supervising drivers should know and follow the restrictions to stay safe. All new drivers, regardless of age, must successfully complete the applicable GDL program, before they graduate to an experienced licence.
The GDL programs help gradually move new drivers into higher risk driving situations with certain driving restrictions. Each program has three stages: Learner, Novice 1 and Novice 2.
New drivers must comply with the following restrictions in each stage of the GDL program:
- no cellphone use while driving, not even hands-free;
- the number of passengers is limited to the number of seatbelts;
- cannot be a supervising driver for another driver in the GDL program; and
- unable to obtain a commercial driver’s licence.
GDL drivers also have different passenger restrictions in each stage since distractions increase as the number of passengers increase. The GDL programs don’t focus on age, they focus on experience.
“Practice is essential,” says Ken Claffey, Driver Education Manager, Saskatoon Public Schools. “The nine-month learner stage is not just to prepare the new driver to pass a road test – it’s to prepare them to be a safe driver and stay alive on the road.”
New last summer, the following restrictions were added to the MGDL program. All new motorcycle riders:
- must wear protective gear;
- must display a red learner ‘L’ or green novice ‘N’ placard; and
- may be restricted to engine size.
There is zero drug and alcohol tolerance for new drivers, regardless of their age, in both the GDL and MGDL programs. Additional restrictions specific to each stage of the GDL and MGDLprograms are outlined as well.
Claffey recommends parents start instilling road safety habits at a very early age. “If they’re taught the rules of the road as young pedestrians and cyclists, those road safety habits can help them become a safer and more aware driver when they’re older.”
Do you have a new driver in the family? A lot has changed!
If you received your licence before 2005, you wouldn’t have gone through the GDL program. If you have a new driver in the family, you can help them move through the stages safely by putting them in the driver’s seat as much as possible.
“As a supervising driver, your number one job is to pay attention to what’s happening and to coach and correct the new driver,” said Claffey. “They need to be prepared to handle any situation for when they no longer have you by their side. Are they ready to drive without you? Are you ready for that?
“Give your new driver as much seat time as possible when you are with them. The more they drive, the better they get. And remember, new drivers are impressionable and will pick up the supervising driver’s habits – whether they’re good or bad. So hang up, buckle up and follow the rules of the road.”
Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) is the province’s self-sustaining auto insurance fund. SGI operates 21 claims centres and five salvage centres across Saskatchewan with a head office in Regina. SGI also works with a network of over 400 motor licence issuers across the province. Customers can now do some transactions online. Look for the MySGI link under Online Services on your motor licence issuer’s website or SGI’s website.