N.B. considers scrapping restriction for new drivers
Published Monday, December 3, 2012 7:19PM AST
In New Brunswick, new drivers face restrictions for as many as 24 months after hitting the road, which include not being on the road during overnight hours.
But the New Brunswick government is considering scrapping the restriction – an idea that has left some driving educators scratching their heads.
Under the driving ban, new drivers are not allowed to be on the road between midnight and 5 a.m.
The topic is being debated as the bill reaches its third and final reading.
“Why are you so determined to pass a bill that’s going to put young drivers at risk?” asks Liberal MLA and transportation critic Rick Doucet.
“We have done a consultation. We listened to the people of the province of New Brunswick and we believe in our young people,” says Public Safety Minister Robert Trevors.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving was consulted and is against lifting the ban. Instead, MADD would like to see a ban covering more nighttime hours.
Driving instructor Sean Daly says new drivers can already be exempt from the current ban if they work, need to get to school, or if there’s an emergency.
“So really, all that it leaves left that they weren’t allowed to drive for was social purposes,” he says.
“I think if you look at the numbers, most teenage driver related collisions occur after dark, specifically after midnight into the early hours.”
On Prince Edward Island, new drivers are not allowed on the road between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. unless they are over the age of 21 and have a Class 7 licence.
In Nova Scotia, new drivers can’t sit behind the wheel between midnight and 5 a.m. unless an experienced driver is with them.
In New Brunswick, many new or soon-to-be-new drivers are intrigued by the idea of lifting the driving ban.
“To take it away is going to be an advantage to a lot of people to go different places, so you’re not stuck everywhere,” says one Fredericton resident.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea because it will probably drastically increase the risk of accidents,” says another.
“If you’re old enough to drive, you’re old enough to decide when to drive,” says a third.
A third reading of the bill has yet to be scheduled.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Nick Moore