The hidden value of a driver’s licence
By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, October 20th 2017
There are all sorts of reasons why people want to get a driving licence.
Some are obvious, but others are much less so.
Putting off the decision might have unintended consequences not always appreciated by non-drivers.
Here are some of them: The first thing many employers look for on a job applicant’s resume is whether the candidate is a licensed driver.
Other qualifications aside, getting a driver’s licence is often seen by employers as a pseudo intelligence test.
Maybe the person applying for the position is not seen as smart enough to pass the learner’s licence theory test.
Perhaps the employer is thinking of the convenience of tossing the keys to a licensed driver and asking that employee to do an unscheduled errand.
There could be a medical emergency that would require an employee to get help or rush someone to the hospital.
Having a driver’s licence often gives an applicant a leg up in the competitive hiring process.
Safety is a concern for many commuters, especially those who must travel late at night.
There are times when bus schedules do not match up well with graveyard shifts or odd-hour, split-shift work schedules.
Many people who work these shifts like to travel in pairs or groups for safety reasons.
When this is not possible, they often get a licence for their own peace of mind.
There are people who do not need a driver’s licence.
They can walk to work and do all types of activities on a scooter or bike.
The bus schedules are excellent and there is always a cab just a phone call or text away.
But life is not always predictable. There are times when a promotion at work is dependent on a person having a driving privilege.
Getting a learner’s licence early in life is always an advantage when one is needed later in life.
This was never a problem in the decades leading up to the 1990s. All a driving candidate had to do was pass a rudimentary written test and take a road test after as little as a two-week wait.
The theory test was 20 questions and the road test was about 20 minutes of actual driving.
Many employers were willing to wait while a job applicant acquired a licence.
Times have changed and new drivers must now possess a learner’s licence for one year before attempting a road test.
There are not many employers who are willing to wait a year for an applicant to qualify.
The theory test asks 50 questions and is quite a grind, with a pass rate of 80 per cent being mandatory.
The road test is a full three-quarters of-an hour ordeal.
For this reason, it is advisable for anyone seeking a promotion or planning to change jobs to at least get a learner’s licence as soon as possible and hold it for one year.
That way, the wait period of one year will be waived.
Getting a driver’s licence allows people to have the freedom to come and go according to their own schedules, as opposed to someone else’s regimented schedule.
It is a sense of empowerment for many. They feel safer and more in control behind the wheel.
Unlike on public transit, they can choose their seatmates.
They can lock the car doors and be secure in the belief that the latest in safety equipment, such as seatbelts, airbags, stability control, anti-lock braking systems, lane warning and all-around visibility technology, will serve them well.