We Teach Driving Like Your Life Depends On It

Driving laws madly off in all directions

By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, April 13th 2018

A B.C. Transit bus driver navigates Pandora Avenue between Government and Wharf streets last Jun. Steve Wallace asks: Will bus drivers be the next group exempted from a requirement to earn a class 4 driving license?

There are several initiatives already completed by the provincial government — and other programs now being contemplated — that lead me to believe the powers that be are suffering from a healthy dose of administrative confusion.
Driving instructors are no longer required to hold a class 4 professional driving licence to teach driving lessons.
This change was made a few years ago without an extensive consultation with the public or the industry.
It has resulted in a dumbing down effect throughout the industry.
Is the public aware of this reality?

Would they be offended by the fact that the instructor being employed has no greater licence qualification than that of many seniors seeking to requalify on a retest?
It is long past time to reinstate the professional licence (class 4) requirement for all driving instructors in B.C. There is now a proposal to exempt taxi drivers from holding a class 4 licence, as well.
There is a distinct possibility that the initiative is somehow intended to coincide with the introduction of ride-hailing drivers, who will not, as it stands now, be required to hold a class 4 professional licence.

This is a ridiculous proposal and might well be a further eroding of the safety requirements that have been associated with the transportation industry regulator.
A class 4 licence should be mandatory for anyone transporting passengers for pay.
This is a job for professionals, not a bunch of well-meaning but untrained members of the public.

Who is next? Perhaps transit drivers.
Maybe school bus drivers.
Dumbing down is not the way to go.
Government should be getting this message loud and clear.

At the same time as driver road testing is being relaxed within the class 4 category, it is being ramped up for seniors wishing to retain their driving privileges.
Seniors identified as having even the mildest of physical and cognitive impairment are now being subjected to an extensive road test regime and in-office consultation which could last up to 90 minutes.
This new enhanced road assessment test is probably a step in the right direction.
However, the full impact has yet to be felt or assessed at this early stage.
There are bound to be modifications to this test once the trial period is over.

The time frame for an assessment has not been announced.

So now, we have a situation where the very people who will be transporting seniors — seniors who have failed the enhanced road assessment because of a significantly more difficult testing procedure — will likely be those taxi or ride-hailing drivers without a professional driver designation.
Seniors must visit a doctor’s office to get a clean bill of health, by the order of the B.C. Superintendent of Motor Vehicles.
Taxi and ride-hailing drivers are not subject to the same standard of health examination.

Drivers or companies wishing to compete with the taxi industry should at least have the same professional class of licence.
This must be legislated.
Relaxing the requirements for taxi drivers to put them on the same level as unqualified ride-hailing service drivers is not the answer.
A race to the bottom does not serve the public interest.

It is odd that the powers that be in our province have made great strides in raising the bar when it comes to the road testing of “teens and seens,” but are intent on lowering the bar for so-called professional drivers.
To be fair, there has been a recent change of provincial governments relatively recently.
Perhaps the “in betweens” will be subjected to the same raising of the bar — or, at least, a maintaining of the bar.

We can only hope.






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