One of the best ways a person can keep car insurance premiums down is by maintaining a good driving record. This is a mix of driving experience and good habits combining to make a trouble-free history over a period of time. Insurance companies recognize that past driving behaviour suggests how a driver will likely perform in the future, and partially base premiums on that history.
What happens with a new driver? Without knowledge of driving skills, insurers are taking a big leap of faith, the risk of which they offset by charging more for coverage. This is where driving schools come in. First of all, they teach the knowledge and skills necessary for a driver to obtain a G2 license. The solid foundation necessary to pass the test will, hopefully, translate into safe driving habits after it’s earned, and the driver has a strong beginning in establishing that all-important good driving record.
The Ontario government maintains certain standards for beginner driver education. Schools offering acceptable programs are approved by the Ministry of Transportation. To earn this certification, participating schools meet standards for:
- A mix of in-car and in-class instruction totalling at least 40 hours
- 20 hours in class
- No more than 40 students in a class – ideally 24.
- 10 hours in car, no more than 2 hours per day.
- 10 hours of flexible time – can be in-car, in-class, driving simulator or computer study.
- The way the company is run from an administrative standpoint.
- The way the company conducts advertising and marketing programs.
Note that MTO approval is not required to operate a driving school. However, without assurance that a company follows an approved curriculum, insurance companies may not recognize certificates earned from unapproved schools.
Benefits of Approved Driving School Certification
The cost of a driver’s ed program is offset by a number of benefits. First and foremost is the insurance premium reduction. While this depends on the insuring company, most offer discounts for students of MTO-approved schools. The premium you pay will depend on both the company you choose and the levels of coverage you select.
A driving school certificate reduces waiting time for a G2 road test. Without it, drivers must wait a full year after successfully completing the written test, but with a driver’s ed certificate, the wait is 8 months.
The minimum 10 hours of in-car experience is extra practice under controlled conditions that are invaluable to new drivers. Comfort behind the wheel as well as technical knowledge will improve road test performance. Graduates of driver training programs are less likely to develop unsafe driving habits, reducing the chances of tickets and accidents they are likely to receive over the course of their driving history.
Driver Training Resources
The MTO recommends checking both its list of government-approved driving schools, as well as those who are no longer certified as providing approved courses. Check approved schools with friends and family for word-of-mouth recommendations. Ask to meet instructors prior to signing up for a program to ensure comfort and compatibility. Reputable driver training schools will welcome the opportunity.