Proposal to scrap overnight driving ban sparks debate in N.B.
Published Wednesday, December 5, 2012 7:16PM AST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 5, 2012 7:17PM AST
A debate has been ignited over proposed changes to graduated licensing in New Brunswick.
The provincial government introduced a change to the Motor Vehicle Act that would allow new drivers behind the wheel between midnight and 5 a.m.
The overnight driving ban has only been in place in the province for three years, and some groups are saying the proposed change is a dangerous idea.
Earlier this week, Mothers Against Drunk Driving spoke out against the proposal while the Canadian Automobile Association released a statement today, expressing its concern over New Brunswick’s intention to soften the rules for new drivers.
Today, a field trip to the New Brunswick legislature gave some teens a front row seat to the debate.
“During those times at night there aren’t a lot of people on the roads anyways,” says one student.
“One of the worst things is having to leave early,” says another. “It really affects your social life.”
“Right now we need to get our new drivers prepared for all the elements,” says New Brunswick Public Safety Minister Robert Trevors.
The provincial government may be pushing for the change, but opposition is growing.
Driving educators say most collisions with young people behind the wheel take place at night, while MADD says more nighttime restrictions are needed, not less. CAA is also weighing in on the debate.
“Forty-five per cent of teen crashes happen in those hours, so it’s a high risk time for teens to be driving,” says Steve McCall, the Atlantic president of CAA.
However, time may be running out for those trying to prevent the change from taking place.
The bill has gone through its second of three readings, while a secure Progressive Conservative majority all but ensures it will have no trouble passing, which is troubling to the Opposition Liberals.
“We’re going against the grain of every jurisdiction here to take this off the books,” says Liberal MLA and transportation critic Rick Doucet.
A third and final reading has yet to be scheduled.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Nick Moore