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Guelph Drive Test Centre

Only 14% of Driving Tests in Guelph Are From Guelph (Poll)

Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation data reveals that new drivers from major cities are opting to take their driving tests in smaller towns, resulting in higher collision rates compared to those tested in urban areas. The province’s auditor general highlighted this trend in a recent report.

Notably, 42% of drivers tested at the Orangeville centre were from Brampton, while only 2% were actually Orangeville residents. In a striking example, over 1,000 drivers from the GTA traveled to Hawkesbury in the lower Ottawa Valley, a five-hour drive, for their tests in a 15-month period starting January 2022.

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The report indicated that rural test centres generally have simpler routes and higher pass rates, but these novice drivers tend to be involved in more collisions compared to those tested near their homes. The report criticizes the Ministry for not exploring the reasons behind this trend or its impact on road safety, nor considering measures to encourage drivers to test in their own areas.

Guelph residents have complained about the influx of drivers taking tests in their city, where only 14% of test-takers are locals. The audit found wide variations in pass rates across Ontario, with smaller towns typically showing higher pass rates.

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The auditor general also criticized the policy allowing unlimited same-day retakes of the written test. A significant number of drivers pass after multiple attempts on the same day, which the AG argues undermines the test’s purpose as drivers end up memorizing questions rather than learning road rules.

Comparatively, other provinces have stricter retake policies. B.C. and Quebec have waiting periods, while Saskatchewan and Alberta limit to one test per day.

The report also calls for more scrutiny of drivers with a history of suspensions. Currently, only those convicted of serious traffic offenses in court are required to undergo retraining. Yet, drivers with multiple suspensions, a sign of repeated minor offenses, had a significantly higher fatal collision rate in 2022.

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Concerns were also raised about the G-class road test standards. The test was simplified in January 2022 to address pandemic-related backlogs, but the original standard hasn’t been restored despite clearing the backlog by October 2022. The Ministry defended the new standard, but the AG highlighted that examiners are expected to maintain consistent pass rates, which could influence outcomes.

The practice of “route training,” where students practice on actual test routes, is another issue. While some municipalities like Brampton have taken action against this practice, the Ministry doesn’t regulate the routes used for training.

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Finally, the AG criticized the Ministry’s oversight of Serco, the company administering the tests, and its parent company Plenary. Despite previous performance issues and contract disputes, Serco’s contract was renewed non-competitively. The Ministry’s compliance audits of Serco were deemed ineffective, particularly in not observing actual road tests.

The new contract with Plenary/Serco is for two years, with possible extensions, but the Ministry’s supervision remains a concern.

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