Why has the SAAQ reinstated the mandatory driving course for future drivers when it abolished this requirement in 1997?
Advances have been made in driver education research over the last decade. Thus the SAAQ, in collaboration with the Québec driving school industry, has designed all-new course content and instruction methods based on work and experiments conducted in Europe.
The new Road Safety Education Program has been given at driving schools since January 2010. With this program, learners can acquire the competencies required to become safe, cooperative and responsible drivers. The program includes 4 phases with alternating theoretical instruction and practical training. There are a total of 24 hours of theoretical instruction in a series of 12 two-hour modules. The practical training includes 15 one-hour on-road instruction sessions for a total of 15 hours. All of these changes should have a positive impact on the road safety record of young drivers, as well as new drivers age 25 or older, who are also at greater risk of an accident during their first years as drivers.
Who is covered by these new measures?
Anyone who does not hold or has never held a Class 5 learner's licence or probationary licence.
What is the content of the driving course?
A driver education program has been implemented that includes 4 phases, with alternating theoretical instruction and practical training. There are a total of 24 hours of theoretical instruction in a series of 12 two-hour modules. The practical training includes 15 one-hour on-road instruction sessions for a total of 15 hours.
Do I have to wait until I am 16 to start taking the course?
No. However, you must be 16 to get a learner's licence. You can start the theoretical course a few weeks before your 16th birthday. Once you are 16, with your module five evaluation successful and your attestation in hand, you can go to the SAAQ to get your learner's licence
How does the driving school determine whether I have passed the course?
At the end of Phase 1 of the program, that is, after completing the first 4 theoretical modules, students take a test at the driving school. This evaluation is the 5th module of the course. The test is given by the driving school, but provided by the SAAQ. Students who pass the test can then go to the SAAQ to get a learner's licence .
Once they have their learner's licence, students can continue the theoretical instruction and begin the on-road training. They can also drive with an accompanying rider. The second written exam is administered by the SAAQ in their premises. Indeed, 10 months after obtaining their learner's licence, students who have completed all theoretical training given by the driving school (Phases 2, 3 and 4) may go to the SAAQ and pass the theoretical exam. Lastly, 12 months after getting their learner's licence and once they have passed the knowledge test and gotten an attestation of successful completion of the driving course, they can take the SAAQ road test and get a their licence.
I have already held a Class 5 learner's licence, but it is expired, suspended or revoked . Am I subject to the new measures
You are not subject to the new measures with regard to the driving course. If your learner's license is expired for less than three years, go to the SAAQ to renew it. However, if it is expired for more than 3 years, you must pass the SAAQ tests again.
When can I get a Class 5 learner's licence?
If you are 16 years of age or older and have successfully completed Phase 1 of the driving course (5 two-hour modules, including the evaluation), you have to go to the SAAQ with the attestation of successful completion issued by the driving school to open a file, pass a vision test, fill out the Declaration of Illness or Impairment form and get a learner's licence. If you are under 18, you must provide the original of the written Consent of a Person Having Parental Authority form.
Do I have to make an appointment to apply for a Class 5 learner's licence?
To obtain a class 5 learner's licence, Canadian citizens can go directly to the SAAQ. However, non-citizens have to call the SAAQ and make an appointment to open a file.
Am I allowed to drive with a Class 5 learner's licence? Do I have to be accompanied?
This rule has not changed. To drive outside the driving course, you must be accompanied by a person who has held a licence to drive a passenger vehicle for at least two years, and who is qualified to provide you with help and advice. A probationary licence holder cannot serve as an accompanying rider.
When do I have to take the tests to get a Class 5 driver's licence?
You can take the knowledge test once you have held a Class 5 learner's licence for at least 10 months.
To take the road test and get a probationary licence, you must have held a Class 5 learner's licence for at least 12 months, have passed the knowledge test and have the attestation of successful completion from the driving school.
When can I retake an SAAQ test if I fail?
The wait time before retaking a knowledge test or road test is 28 days.
Why is it no longer necessary to take a knowledge test at the SAAQ to apply for a learner's licence?
Module 5 of Phase 1 of the driving course, which must be completed in order to get a learner's licence, is an evaluation conducted by the driving school. To get a learner's licence, candidates must prove that they successfully completed this evaluation by showing the attestation to that effect issued by the driving school.
When new residents want to exchange their licence, are they subject to the new measures?
Their driving experience is taken into account. If they have driven for less than 24 months, regardless of their age, they are required to drive with a probationary licence until they have 24 months experience (section 92.0.1 of the Highway Safety Code). If you are from outside Canada and you have settled in Québec, you have 12 months following your arrival in Canada to apply for a licence exchange for a Québec licence, regardless of whether you are required to take a driving test.
Why are all new drivers, even those age 25 or older, required to drive with a probationary licence for 24 months?
The probationary phase applies to everyone, since all new drivers are at a greater risk of having an accident during their first years of driving, due to their inexperience.
It has been proven that drivers age 25 and older are at greater risk during the first years of driving than more experienced drivers of the same age. Subjecting drivers age 25 and older, who represent nearly 20% of new drivers, to a two-year probationary period allows for a tighter control of this at-risk group