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ICBC should get tougher on road tests

May 8, 2018

By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, May 4th 2018

In urban B.C. communities such as Victoria, it can take about two months to get a road-test appointment.

 

 

ICBC has made some very necessary changes to their driver road test wait-time policy.
In recent years, there were far too many people showing up ill-prepared for the road test.
The intent of the new policy is meant to encourage those seeking a road test to be better prepared for their first attempt and reduce the number of times people take a retest.

The new policy will be implemented on June 25.

It is about time some action was taken on this file.
There are far too many people who take their first attempt, just to see what it is like, without the faintest prospect of a passing grade.
Many of them don’t even make it out of the parking lot!
When steering is more like the lateral action of a drunk and controls are a mystery, it is time to stop the exercise.
Ill-prepared candidates simply jam up the system and cause unnecessary delays for those who have taken the time to be well-prepared.
As of the above implementation date, the wait time after the first failure will be a two-week period.
The second failure will result in a 30-day wait time and the third failure will cause a 60-day delay before another test can be attempted.

Subsequent test wait-times remain at 60 days.
The rules are meant to impress the importance of being well-prepared for a task that is deemed to be the most dangerous civilian activity on the continent.
(If I had my way, the first test failure would result in an immediate 30-day wait and a subsequent 60 days to follow a second failure.)
Other North American jurisdictions are serious about the number of road-test tries within a finite time period.
Some make the candidate wait for a whole year when a third failed attempt is recorded.

Here are some examples from a peer-group survey conducted by ICBC. Quebec has a 28-day wait period after just one failure on their road test.
Our closest foreign neighbour, Washington state, makes learners wait three months after a third failed road test. Some states in the U.S. limit the number of attempts per year.
Manitoba has a very strict policy: It demands learners failing their fourth attempt take at least two hours of professional driver training before further attempts are entertained.
There is an average two-month wait to get a road-test appointment in most densely populated parts of our province.

It is long past a reasonable time that ICBC has taken this action. The ICBC road test is the most comprehensive and subsequently difficult road test in North America.
Showing up for it unprepared is just plain dumb! It is a waste of valuable test slots.
The wait time for a failure on the theory test has always been the next business day.

It is now seven days. In any case, it is best to adopt the Scout/Guide motto, namely: Be prepared.
The pass mark on the theory test is 80 per cent. Many learners, taking the test, are more familiar with a much lower threshold needed to be attained for a passing grade.
This isn’t meant to be a high school test qualification.

This is the adult world, where the aforementioned activity is the leading cause of teen accidental death. An 80 per cent pass rate is very defensible.
The wait times for road tests in the class 1-4 license qualification are the same as noted above.

The motorcycle test wait period remains at seven days for all failed road tests. This is meant to accommodate the shorter seasonal test opportunities for this class of two-wheel travel.

 

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