It looks like Alberta’s driving tests are getting a new look.
After hearing from 3,300 Albertans in July 2017, it turns out fees are running high, driver road tests are hard to come by in rural Alberta, and accidents like Humboldt have raised eyebrows over driver training. Let’s see how the Alberta government plans to resolve these issues.
The Alberta government is going to start hiring and training their own examiners so they can bring costs down and improve quality of testing. Before 1993, examiners were public service employees, but since then, private businesses have offered testing.
Apparently, things have gotten out of hand. Every weekday, Alberta Transportation gets seven complaints on average about road tests or new driver experiences with their examiner. About 200,000 road tests took place for all license classes in 2016 by 153 examination companies.
Transportation Minister Brian Mason points out that the current system is broken but by March of 2019, the basic Alberta Class 5 drivers test will have a lower average flat fee of $83 and a Class 1 will cost $219.
Will service take a hit? We’re told by the Edmonton Journal that service will stay business as usual:
“Every Albertan can go into any registry agent, have a road test at the same price and get the same level of service, whether you’re in downtown Edmonton or Grimshaw, Mayerthorpe or High Level.”
WHAT ARE THE MAIN BENEFITS AND CHANGES COMING?
- Standard fees will keep everyone accountable and everyone paying the same price
- Rural Alberta will get better access to testing and training
- Quality controllers to make sure tests are fair
- If you have a problem, there will be a call centre for complaints
- Online scheduling will be available for anytime, anywhere scheduling
- Road test hours will be expanded
HOW WILL CURRENT TESTING BE AFFECTED?
Right now, every new driver will have to take the following Alberta road tests:
- Class 7 Knowledge Test
The Class 7 test is 30 multiple choice questions where you can get six wrong. It doesn’t look like this will change when the government starts managing the test.
*If you’re feeling nervous about this one (or the Class 5), read How to Ace Your Driver’s Test
- Class 5 Basic GDL Road Test
This is where the rubber meets the road and takes only 25-30 minutes to finish, so don’t sweat it! It’s supposed to test your new driving skills while you’ve had your Class 7 GDL Learner's licence over the past year. 60 hours of hard-earned practice is recommended for this test.
The cost will drop from $89.50 to $83, so that’s a plus for every Alberta new driver!
- Class 5 Advanced GDL - The Final Level
The advanced Class 5 road test is the final hurdle before you get your license, but it hasn’t changed much - it will still be 60 minutes and the cost is dropping from $143 to $138. They want to see how safely and responsibly you drive under challenging road conditions like busy intersections, school zones, highways, and dodging obstacles).
Here is the new pricing table:
Overall, road testing, training, and fees will be improving.
A HEALTHY REVIEW
After we’ve looked into it, the changes to Alberta’s road tests aren’t too scary, but we still recommend you buckle up and start preparing - see this handy dandy New Driver Test Guide. Don’t forget to practice lots and get pointers from a seasoned Certified Class 5.
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