As part of the Traffic Safety Spotlight for the month of June, police will be focusing on drivers in the Graduated Driver's Licencing Program and riders in the Motorcycle Graduated Driver Licensing Program. 

"It's the perfect time to talk about being out there and driving," shared SGI's Manager of Media Relations, Tyler McMurchy, "especially for new drivers. We want them out there hitting the road and practising their skills but it f they are in the Graduated Driver's Licencing Program or the Motorcycle Graduated Driver's Licencing Program, we want them also to be aware of the restrictions the need to abide by to take the test to become experienced drivers."

He added that this program was developed not only to help people pass the test but so that when they do pass the test, they are competent drivers. 

"That's why our message to them is we do want them out there practising. We want them studying the rules of the road and they can use the Driver's Handbook and the SGI website is a great resource for that. And also getting lots of on the road practice and gradually exposing themselves to different driving situations, maybe more challenging situations, different weather conditions and that sort of thing."

"But we know that because they do lack that experience, the graduated driver licensing program is there for a reason. There are several stages and restrictions get gradually lessened on them as they move through those stages. So they start out as a learner, then become a Novice 1, and then a Novice 2 before they become an experienced driver."

Motorcycle riders are also part of the Graduated Drivers Licencing program are subject to restrictions such as the type of safety equipment that must be worn. They are also not allowed to tow anything behind the motorcycle and they must display an 'L' or 'N' on their licence plate. 

Some of the restrictions that new drivers must follow include a zero tolerance for drug or alcohol use, no cellphone use whatsoever, the number of passengers you can drive with, as well as the time of day you are able to drive.

"For learner drivers, before you pass the road test and graduate to Novice 1, you have to have a qualified supervising driver with you at all times."

He added that the role of the supervising driver is an important one.

"There is a role for them to play as well. We do have resources online. They can also check out the Driver's Handbook if they want a refresher of the rules of the road, we update it every year, so a number of things probably changed since they got their licence."

"Also there's a guide to supervising new drivers on the SGI website and that's very handy for anybody who is going to be in the co-pilot seat."

Of course, all of the theory and all of the practice is done to help keep new drivers safe.

"We see those younger drivers overrepresented when it comes to collisions and especially collisions that cause injuries and fatalities. That's why it's so very important for them to study the rules of the road, know what their restrictions are and then get out there and practise."

From 2012-2016, 11% of drivers in collisions were 19 years and younger despite only making up seven per cent of the driving population in Saskatchewan. 

Fines for failing to comply with the restrictions include a $150 ticket and three demerit points on your licence.

"If you are in the final stages of the Novice 2 stage, you need to go through that incident free to become an experienced driver. If you don't, then the clock resets and you start that 12 month period again."


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