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Saskatchewan Government Insurance is resuming road tests – suspended since mid-March – for some drivers.
SGI had suspended driving tests to reduce the risk of spreading the novel coronavirus. How can testing resume while social distancing remains at play?
“Physical distancing is not possible in a vehicle, so in order to keep both the applicant and examiner from being exposed, the examiner will follow behind the student in a trail vehicle,” SGI said.
Initially, as of May 11, road testing was offered only to those motorists who work in agriculture and healthcare who had a test cancelled due to the pandemic.
For “Class 5” drivers, which are regular private passenger vehicles, students will need to have a “supervising driver” in their vehicle. The supervising driver must be from the same household as the driver who is being tested. “The supervising driver is there as a safety precaution only and is not permitted to assist the applicant in completing the test,” SGI notes.
For Class 5 drivers doing road tests, the examiner will follow behind and give instructions to the applicant using a hands-free cellphone. SGI will provide a dash camera to record the driver and the view out the windshield.
Initially, SGI will do a maximum of 140 road tests per week province-wide at testing centres in Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Swift Current, North Battleford and Yorkton.
“We recognize that some people have a pressing need for a driver’s licence,” said Kwei Quaye, vice president of traffic safety at SGI, in a press release May 8. “Health care workers are providing essential care and we need to ensure they can operate the required vehicles or drive to work or other locations to provide important medical services. Agriculture has been deemed critical to ensure food production continues; seeding is underway and having drivers to support this sector helps ensure a secure food supply chain.”
In addition to Class 5 drivers, SGI is also resuming limited testing for Classes 4 and 2.
Class 4 licences are for ambulances, taxis, limos, ridesharing vehicles and buses that seat 24 or fewer passengers. Class 2 licences are for buses that can carry more than 24 passengers.
“While current restrictions remain in effect, testing capacity is expected to increase to a maximum of 320 per week by early June, with availability expanded to include Meadow Lake, Humboldt, Weyburn, Kindersley, Lloydminster, Tisdale, Estevan and Moose Jaw.”