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We Teach Driving Like Your Life Depends On It

Silly B.C. driving regulations: Who knew?

May 18, 2018

By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, May 18th 2018

A man mounts his dashboard camera below the rearview mirror of his truck. Steve Wallace writes that dashcams, although legal in many jurisdictions, cannot be used in Canada by driving instructors, despite their obvious benefit for teaching purposes.

 

Who knew that driving schools are not permitted to have dashcams operational during driving lessons?

This obvious teaching tool is deemed illegal by the present privacy legislation.
After a very frank telephone discussion with the deputy privacy commissioner and three of his staff members, I was shocked to learn the images captured on an outward-facing dashcam, by a driving school instructor teaching a student driver, are deemed to be an invasion of public privacy.
Yet those same images captured by any member of the public with an operational dashcam are not treated in the same way and are deemed legal.
This legislation was passed in 2004.

Who knew?

I usually have a keen interest in new rules being enacted.
In fact, all businesses fall under this ridiculously ill-thought-out legislation.
There are exceptions for police, transit and other government service agencies.
When I contacted several people in the media, none could remember the stipulations of this seemingly draconian legislation.

This situation came to light only when a driving instructor and student driver were being harassed by an aggressive tailgater on the Sea to Sky Highway, heading toward Whistler.
The aggressive driver was charged by police, and the story made headlines and was top of the news of the day.
I have sent the information about the illegal designation of the outward dashcams to the Driving Schools Association of the Americas for comment.
Once again, we live up to our reputation as Backward Columbia.

These cameras are legal in almost every jurisdiction south of the border, but sadly are not in most of Canada.

Parents, taking their teens for a driving test, need the teen’s permission to be debriefed by the driving examiner after the road test (as do driving instructors).
Parents need to give their permission for the teen to have a learner’s licence in the first place.
This is part of the “privacy parade” we are all supposed to be following.
A lot has changed since 2004. This dashcam-privacy legislation is deserving of a sober second thought and/or perhaps a complete makeover.
Any duly licensed Tom, Dick and Harry can drive with a student driver behind the wheel of a private vehicle, if they display an orange official “L” magnetic symbol on the back of the vehicle.
Everyone except a licensed driving instructor! Driving instructors can only instruct this “L” phase in a certified driving-school vehicle.

Who knew the new seniors’ enhanced road test was going to take an hour and a half? Was anyone in the driving-school industry consulted?

No.

It is very unfair to expect a senior to properly prepare for such a long ordeal.
All other nonprofessional category tests last about 45 minutes.
Let’s do the math. Suppose a conscientious senior goes for a 30- to 45-minute warm-up drive prior to the ERA test. This would be followed be a 90-minute test appointment.
The first part of the test would be reserved for a standard eye test and a review of street signs.
The actual in-vehicle time is divided into a five- to 10minute introductory session and two 20-minute travelling sessions and a 35-minute debrief session.

What is any examiner going to say to a senior that will take 35 minutes of an in-car session?
After a brief introduction and a debrief, 35 minutes is the entire driving time of a Class 7 or a Class 5 road test.
What makes seniors so special that they must endure a minimum 90-minute sessional road test? Who knew the senior would have to wait two weeks for the result?

Stay tuned: It ain’t over till it’s over.

 

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