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FAQ – Graduated Licensing System

What is Graduated Licensing?

Ontario’s Graduated Licensing System (GLS) allows new drivers to earn full driving privileges in 2 stages. In the first stage, G1/M1 (car or motorcycle) Level 1, drivers learn and practise under conditions that reduce the risk of collision.

Once new drivers/riders have gained more experience, they must pass a road test to enter the second stage, G2/M2 Level 2, with more privileges. At the end of Level 2, a second road test must be passed to earn a full G or M driver’s licence.

* Please see G1/G2 and M1/M2 sections for licence conditions and minimum time periods.

How does the program work?

New drivers of passenger vehicles learn to drive with five important conditions in Level 1. Drivers earn more privileges by passing a road test to enter Level 2. At the end of 12 months in Level 2, they can earn a full driver’s licence by passing another road test.

New motorcycle riders learn to ride with 4 conditions in Level 1, which lasts at least 60 days. They must pass a road test to enter Level 2 with more privileges. They earn a full licence when they pass a skills test after 18 to 22 months in Level 2.

What is a ministry-approved driver education course?

This course must consist of the following:

  •  20 hours of classroom instruction, 10 hours behind the wheel instruction and 10 hours of homelinks

For a list of approved schools in your area visit www.mto.gov.on.ca

Does the time spent in Level 1 and Level 2 count toward the 4 years of experience you need to be an accompanying driver?

Yes, this experience counts.

Can I shorten the time it takes to obtain a full licence?

Yes. You can reduce your waiting time in the first stage, G1 licence holders are permitted to attempt their road test after one year. However, this time can be reduced to only 8 months if the applicant successfully completes a Ministry-approved driver education course.

For a list of approved schools in your area visit www.mto.gov.ca

Why can’t I drive on high-speed expressway in Level 1?

High-speed collisions cause more damage than those at lower speeds. That’s why it makes sense to reduce the risks while you practise in G1 or M1. When you have more skill, you’ll have a better chance of reacting quickly to avoid collisions. There are always roads you can use instead of 400-series highways and expressways, but if you do need to use a high-speed road, your accompany-ing driver can take over. You may practise on high-speed roads with a licensed driving instructor.

Why must there be a seatbelt for every passenger?

Seatbelts are the best way to avoid injury in a collision. This condition ensures that the vehicle is not overcrowded and that everyone is protected in the case of a collision.

Why can’t I drive after midnight in Level 1?

Staying off the road when the risks are highest is a good way to avoid collisions. About half of the fatal collisions involving new drivers happen at night. People are tired and it’s harder to see. These factors put lives in danger especially for new drivers who are still developing the skills required to avoid collisions.

How to get your driver’s licence in Ontario

You have to be at least 16 years old before applying for a car licence, read the Official Driver’s Handbook. For a motorcycle licence, read the Official Motorcycle Handbook.

Both of these handbooks can be purchased at Driver and Vehicle Licence Issuing Offices, Drive Test Cen-tres, at some retailers and online at www.mto.gov.on.ca.

When you apply for a Level One (car or motorcycle) licence at a Drive Test Centre, your eyesight and your understanding of the rules of the road will be tested. You will also be asked some questions about your health to determine whether you meet the medical requirements for driving in Ontario.

If you pass both tests and meet the medical require-ments you will get your Level 1 (G1 or M1) driver’s licence valid for up to 5 years.

It is highly recommended that you complete each level of the graduated licensing system as soon after the minimum time period as you feel ready to do so safely. Why? Your G1 or G2 licence expires 5 years after the date you got your G1.

If you have not passed the G1 and G2 road tests and earned a full G licence by this time, you will have to redo the knowledge test to get a G1 and/or re-take the G1 road test to get your G2.

Increasing penalties for not following graduated licensing conditions. See Frequently Asked Questions section.

Level One – G1

G1 lasts at least 1 year but not more than 5 years. The time can be reduced to 8 months if you successfully complete a ministry approved driver education course.

At the end of G1 you must pas the G1 road test to move to Level Two – G2

As a G1 driver, you can begin driving cars, vans, SUVs or small trucks with these 5 conditions:

  1. You must always have an accompanying driver in the front passenger seat. They must:
    • be fully licensed and have at least 4 years of driving experience*
    • have blood alcohol concentration of less than .05% (Ontario’s roadside suspension limit). Accompanying driver’s 21 years of age and under must have zero percent to assume driv-ing duties and
    • be the only other person in the front seat* Proof of 4 years driving experience is indicated on an Ontario driver’s licence by 4 dots on the front of the card.
  2. You must not drink any alcohol if you will be driv-ing. Your blood alcohol concentration must be zero.
  3. You must not drive between 12:00 midnight and 5:00 in the morning.
  4. Everyone in your vehicle must have a seatbelt. One person per belt.
  5. You must not drive on Ontario’s 400 series high-ways or high speed expressways, such as the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) or Don Valley Parkway (see Driver’s Handbook for a complete list).

Level Two – G2

New drivers must hold G2 licence for a minimum of 12 months before they can attempt the G2 road test.

At this level, you have more privileges because of your driving experience.

You can drive at any time, day or night. You can drive on your own and on any Ontario road with only these 3 important conditions:

  •  You must not drink any alcohol if you will be driving. Your blood alcohol concentration must be zero.
  • Each person must have a working seatbelt so your vehicle is not overcrowded and everyone is pro-tected. One person. One seatbelt.
  • Teenage G2 drivers must limit the number of pas-sengers under the age of 20 late at night.
    ✔ For the first six months, G2 drivers aged 19 and under cannot carry more that one passenger aged 19 and under between midnight and 5 a.m.*
    ✔ After the first six months, G2 drivers aged 19 and under cannot carry more than three passengers aged 19 and under between midnight and 5 a.m.
    ** Does not apply if your only front seat passenger is a fully licensed driver with four or more years of driving experience, or if your passengers are your immediate family.

It is now law that all drivers 21 years of age and under, including full G and M class licensed drivers, must have a blood alcohol level of zero.