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Northern Ont. driving instructor says shortening G driver's test could be dangerous

'When something is important like that, can you rush it through?' asks Sault Ste. Marie's Mary Lewis
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SAULT STE. MARIE - An employee of Our Driving School in Sault Ste. Marie says staff members there were shocked to learn that Ontario is temporarily changing the G-level road in an effort to reduce a backlog caused by COVID-19 restrictions. 

Mary Lewis, an administrative assistant and licenced driving instructor with the Pim Street driving school, says the temporary changes - which include the removal of parallel parking, three-point turns and roadside stops from the G-level tests - could make for shortened road tests with less instruction regarding driving skills. 

She says that road tests in Sault Ste. Marie usually take about 40 minutes to complete. 

“I’m sure they’re getting a lot of complaints about it, but do you really shortcut on testing for that, when it’s putting people on the road? I don’t know,” said Lewis. “It seems like an area that shouldn’t be cut back.”

The changes to the G-level test will remain in effect until at least March 31. The G2 road test will remain unchanged. 

“Obviously they think the old way is good, right? But they’re going to let all these people get through without those qualifications?” said Lewis. “That’s pretty dangerous, in my mind and my instructors’ minds, to put those people on the road.”

A spokesperson for Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney told The Canadian Press earlier this week that the changes will make the test shorter, which will allow for more tests to be completed. 

“When something is important like that, can you rush it through?” Lewis asked. 

According to the Ministry of Transportation, more than 400,000 road tests in Ontario have been cancelled due to the pandemic since March 2020.

- with files from The Canadian Press