Getting your driver’s licence for the first time is a really exciting thing. Regardless of your age, there’s a sense of freedom that comes with it.
I remember, the day I turned 15, rushing right down to motor vehicles, which at the time was in the government building on Second Avenue. I took my test and got my learner’s licence. Then exactly one year later, on my 16th birthday I rushed back down and got my full licence. What a day!
Today, for new drivers in the Yukon, we have a graduated licensing program with three levels: learner, novice, and then full license.
To start the licensing process you must be at least 15 years old, have valid identification, be prepared to pass a sign and knowledge test and also pass an eye exam.
You will need to prove your identity and present documentation that confirms your full legal name, birth date, your picture, your signature and your legal presence in Canada. Sometimes more than one document may be needed to confirm everything. You will also need to prove Yukon residency.
If you are not 18 years old yet, then a parent or legal guardian must accompany you. They will also need to prove their identity and Yukon residency. Keep in mind your parent or legal guardian can always withdraw their approval by returning the driver’s licence to Motor Vehicles.
The next step is to study the Yukon Driver’s Basic Handbook until you can successfully pass the written test. If you fail the test you can rewrite it the next day.
Your vision will also need to be checked to ensure you are safe to drive. If you don’t pass your eye exam you need to have further testing done by an optometrist. If you do need to wear glasses or contact lenses, this restriction will show on your licence.
Once you have passed the written test and eye exam, you will receive your learner’s licence.
There are a lot of restrictions to driving with a learner’s license. You must have an “L” sign clearly displayed on the back of the vehicle any time you are driving. You may only drive between 5 a.m. and midnight with a co-driver that has had a full driver’s license for at least two years. There is zero tolerance for any alcohol or drugs in either you or your co-driver’s body. You can not use any handheld devices including cell phones. There are restrictions on passengers and towing.
During your practice driving in this stage, Motor Vehicles strongly recommends that you experience a variety of traffic and weather situations, such as highway and urban driving, nighttime and winter driving.
Once you have completed six months and 50 hours of driving with you co-driver, you may then proceed to the novice driver stage. You must be at least 16 years old to move to this stage.
The first step here is to pass a road test. You will need to come with a safe vehicle with valid insurance. The road test usually takes less than an hour and will cover general safe driving skills like: maneuvering intersections, entering traffic, backing up, changing lanes, parking on hills, parallel and angle parking, merging in to traffic and other important driving skills. Road tests are generally done by appointment.
Once you have passed the road test and are granted your novice licence, you are then permitted to drive without a co-driver between 5 a.m. and midnight. Outside those times you will still need a co-driver who has had a full license for at least two years. You will still have the same other restrictions you had with your learner’s license. Once again there is zero tolerance for any alcohol or drugs in your body. You can not use any handheld devices including cell phones. There are the same restrictions on passengers and towing.
Once you had successfully held your novice licence for at least 18 months in a row, and without any violations, you may then apply for a full licence.
Once you have your full license you are now at liberty to fully enjoy the full privileges and rewards of driving. Hopefully for as long as you drive and are sharing the road with others, you will give it the full attention and respect it deserves.
Motor Vehicles has 11 offices throughout the Yukon. You can get lots more information on their website: www.hpw.gov.yk.ca/mv or you can call them toll free at 1-800-661-0408 local 5315.
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