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Alberta Government makes changes to graduated licence program

More than half a million drivers in Alberta are set to benefit from a change to the graduated licence program.
Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors announced Saturday that more than 500,000 drivers will be eligible to upgrade their GDL licence. (Photo courtesy of Government of Alberta)

More than half a million drivers in Alberta are set to benefit from a change to the graduated licence program.

As of last Saturday, eligible drivers currently in the GDL program will save $154 by not having to take an advanced road test to get their full Class 5 or Class 6 Alberta driver’s licence. In 2003 the province introduced its GDL program, which placed new drivers on a 24-month probationary period for safety and required an advanced road test in order to be removed from the program.

“There are close to half a million drivers who will benefit from this,” said Innisfail- Sylvan Lake Devin Dreeshen, who also serves as the Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors.

“These changes will help GDL drivers exit the program and apply for other classes of driver’s licences whether it’s for a semi-truck, gravel truck or bus.”

Over the past five years, about 65 per cent of drivers did not take their advanced road test and 99 per cent of motorcycle riders did not take the test. Moving forward, all restrictions of a GDL licence will remain in place until a driver has received a letter from the government indicating that they have exited the GDL program.

Drivers who have an urgent need to exit the GDL program – needing a non-GDL licence for a job, for example ­– can go to a registry agent office to confirm their eligibility. If the registry agent determines a driver is eligible, they will exchange the driver’s GDL licence for a non-GDL driver’s licence free of charge.

“This is a good common-sense approach that cuts red tape. Albertans have told us this was red tape - we listened and are addressing it,” said Dale Nally, Minister of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction.

“This change will also help make driver’s licensing more affordable for Albertans.”

On June 25, the Government of Alberta will implement technology that will automatically exit eligible Albertans who have demonstrated safe driving behaviours from GDL drivers to non-GDL status.

GDL drivers must have no suspensions or demerits within their last 12 months of probation, including zero tolerance for any alcohol and/or drug consumption.

Drivers who exhibit poor driving behaviours and incur demerits, or are ticketed for other unsafe driving offences during the last year of their probation will have their probationary period extended for an additional year.

The criteria for exiting the GDL program is:

you must be 18 years of age

you must have completed your 24 months of probationary driving

if you have taken a Class 5 or Class 6 driver training program from a driver training school licensed by Transportation and Economic Corridors, you may be eligible to reduce the 24-month probationary period by up to six months

you must be suspension and demerit free for the last 12 months

In order to obtain a Class 4, 3, 2 or 1 driver’s licence, a driver must first have a full (non-GDL) Class 5 driver’s licence.

About the Author: Black Press Media Staff

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