It’s a rite of passage, but there are more reasons to get a driver’s licence
By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, November 16th 2018
A driver’s licence is much more than a simple privilege to drive.
There are many reasons for getting a driving licence.
It is much more than a rite of passage for teens and others.
There are often references to freedom, mobility and practical realities that cause people to learn to drive.
Travelling over long distances, from one place to another, when there is no option of public transportation, makes a licence indispensable for the younger generation.
Many employers will only hire licensed drivers.
There are some obvious reasons for this decision, but there are also some not-soobvious reasons.
Employees can be of greater value to a business when they can drive.
There is also a tendency for employers to use the possession of a licence as an unofficial intelligence test.
Resumés that do not include a licence quickly find their way into the no-go file.
This makes it much more difficult for younger people to get their first full-time job.
Also, many companies have emergency plans that require a licence.
It is the same as needing a firstaid certification to be considered for the position within a company.
When new drivers are asked why they got a licence, their replies are often very telling.
Some feel safer and more secure in a vehicle than in public, particularly late at night.
Many parents of teens are happy to get relief from driving to the early-morning athletic practices and other events throughout the school year.
It is a double-edged sword. They want the relief from the grind of offspring delivery duty, but are cautious about the future of unencumbered teen driving.
Teens want to come and go according to their own schedule, rather than that of someone else. Some want privacy.
Others wish to choose their travelling companions.
Most seniors want to retain their driving privileges.
Their needs are often different from those of the younger generation.
The loss of a licence will more than likely cause a move from the family home to a residence, which can be more confined, but closer to necessary facilities.
Moving from one residence to another at any age is very stressful, but doubly so in one’s senior years.
Social contact is much easier to maintain when seniors have motor-vehicle mobility.
There is a strong tendency to suffer from deep mental depression at the loss of a licence later in life.
The prospect of a mandatory driving test is very daunting for seniors.
Many can’t remember ever having to do a road test in gaining their first licence.
Some received their driving instruction in the armed forces, others on the farm at harvest time.
When the fateful letter demanding a road test arrives in the mail, seniors might feel very intimidated.
Some have trouble sleeping, and often feel a sense of foreboding, akin to the stress one feels at a life-changing event.
They feel set upon. After all, why would such a test be mandatory for anyone with a perfect driving record?
Many seniors with such a record are offended by the demand. Others realize the need to beware and prepare.
Many newcomers to Canada are surprised by the vastness of our country.
They come from places where driving for many hours to and from destinations is not commonplace.
Recent refugees have three immediate priorities: Learn the language, get a job and provide for their family.
Attaining a driving licence is a way of accomplishing the latter two steps.
Canadians are among the most mobile citizens on the planet. Having a driver’s licence has a lot to do with it.