Drivers License

Driving in Ontario

An Ontario driver’s licence is your proof of your privilege to drive. You must carry it with you whenever you drive. Ontario has a one-piece plastic driver’s licence. The licence has a digitized photograph and signature of the driver and a magnetic information strip.Driving in Ontario

A driver’s licence includes your name, address, signature, date of birth, gender, height, date licence issued and expiry dates, and codes showing what class of vehicles you may drive and under what conditions (for example, an “X” condition means you need to wear glasses/contacts for driving). If you have a red bar with four white dots under your photograph, it indicates that you qualify to be an accompanying driver under the graduated licensing program.

If you live in Ontario, you must be at least 16 years old and have a valid Ontario driver’s licence to drive in the province. A newcomer to Ontario is required to apply for an Ontario driver’s licence within 60 days of taking up residence in the province.

Graduated Licensing

As of April 1, 1994, all new drivers applying for their first car or motorcycle licence enter Ontario’s Graduated Licensing System (GLS). Graduated licensing lets new drivers get driving experience and skills gradually. The two-step licensing process takes at least 20 months to complete.

To apply for a licence, you must be at least 16 years old and pass a vision test and a test of your knowledge of the rules of the road and traffic signs. After you pass these tests, you will get a Class G1 or M1 licence and a driver information package for new drivers. You must pass two road tests to become fully licensed.

New drivers earn full driving privileges in two stages and have five years to complete the program (Classes G1, G2, M2 or M2 with condition “L”) and graduate to a full licence (Classes G, M or M with condition L).

Graduated Licensing for Automobile Drivers

Class G1

New drivers of passenger vehicles learn to drive with six important conditions with a G1 licence. A new driver must hold a G1 licence for a minimum of 12 months before attempting the G1 road test. This time can be reduced to eight months if you successfully complete a Ministry-approved Beginner Driver Education Course . Drivers earn more privileges after passing their G1 road test.

As a G1 driver, you are required to:

  • maintain a zero blood alcohol level while driving;
  • be accompanied by a fully licensed driver, who has at least four years driving experience, and a blood alcohol level of less than .05 per cent, in case he/she needs to take over the wheel;
  • ensure the accompanying driver is the only other person in the front seat;
  • ensure the number of passengers in the vehicle is limited to the number of working seat belts;
  • refrain from driving on Ontario’s “400-series” highways or on high speed expressways such as the Queen Elizabeth Way, Don Valley Parkway, Gardiner Expressway, E.C. Row Expressway and the Conestoga Parkway;
  • refrain from driving between midnight and 5:00 a.m.

Note: If your accompanying driver is a driving instructor licensed in Ontario, you may drive on any road.

See also: Ministry-Approved Beginner Driver Education Courses

Class G2

New drivers must hold a 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 may drive without an accompanying driver on all Ontario roads anytime. However, you are still required to:

  • maintain a zero blood alcohol level while driving;
  • ensure the number of passengers in the vehicle is limited to the number of working seat belts.

Our Graduated Licensing System has been a resounding success in reducing death and injury among novice drivers. Ontario research shows that new teenage drivers are almost three times more likely to be involved in a fatal or serious collision when they are carrying teenage passengers. In fact, research shows the more teenage passengers, the higher the risk.

To further protect youth on our roads, effective September 1, 2005: the number of young passengers that teen G2 drivers can carry will be limited from midnight to 5 a.m. as follows:

  • Initially, G2 drivers 19 or under can carry only one passenger aged 19 or under.
  • After the first six months, and until the G2 driver earns a full G licence or turns 20, they can carry up to three passengers aged 19 or under.

The passenger restrictions do not apply if the G2 driver is operating a motor vehicle after 5 a.m. and before midnight.

These restrictions will not apply if the G2 driver is accompanied by a full “G” licensed driver (with at least four years driving experience) in the front seat, or if the passengers are immediate family members.

Thirty-one jurisdictions in Canada and the U.S. have some form of teenage passenger restrictions in effect.

Graduated Licensing for Motorcycle Riders

If you’re a new driver applying for your first licence to ride a motorcycle, you’ll need to enter Ontario’s graduated licensing system. That means you’ll earn full driving privileges in two stages.

Class M1

New motorcycle riders with a Class M1 licence learn to ride under these four conditions:

  • your blood alcohol level must be zero;
  • you must ride only during daylight hours (1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset);
  • you must not ride on highways with speed limits of more than 80 km/h except highways 11, 17, 61, 69, 71, 101, 102, 144, 655;
  • you cannot carry passengers.

After you pass a motorcycle knowledge test, you will get a Class M1 licence and an information package for new riders. You must spend a minimum of 60 days with a Class M1 licence, which is valid for 90 days.

Motorcycle riders who successfully complete an approved motorcycle safety course that includes a road test with an M1 licence are exempt from taking the ministry’s M1 road test and can move to an M2 licence after 60 days. If you complete an approved safety course in either level, you can reduce the time that you must hold an M2 licence from 22 to 18 months. While the motorcycle safety course certificate is valid for two years from its issue date, it may only be used for the M1 road test exemption within six months of its issue date.

See also: Motorcycle Safety Course Providers

With a Class M1 licence, an operator can drive a moped, limited-speed motorcycle and a motorcycle.

Class M2

You must pass an M1 road test or complete an approved motorcycle safety course before receiving a Class M2 licence. You must have a Class M2 licence for a minimum of 22 months. If you complete an approved motorcycle safety course, you may reduce this time requirement by four months. With an M2 licence, you gain more privileges – you may ride at night and on any road. However, at this level:

  • your blood alcohol level must be zero;
  • you will be eligible to take a Class M road test after you have completed the time required with an M2 licence;
  • you must pass this test to get a Class M licence.

Note: Class M2 and Class M licence holders may also drive Class G vehicles under the conditions that apply to a Class G1 licence holder.

With a Class M2 licence, the operator can drive a moped, limited-speed motorcycle and a motorcycle.

Graduated Licensing applies to drivers of limited-speed motorcycles and mopeds

A restricted class M licence is for drivers who operate a limited-speed motorcycle or moped. A limited-speed motorcycle is a motorcycle that has a maximum speed of 70 km/h. Applicants for the restricted class M licence are required to take both M1 and M2 road tests.

Like standard motorcycle drivers, new drivers applying for their limited-speed motorcycle or moped licence will enter Ontario’s graduated licensing system. You must be at least 16 years of age and pass a vision test and a test of your knowledge of the rules of the road and traffic signs. After you pass these tests, you will enter Level One and get an M1 licence. You must pass two road tests to become fully licensed on a limited-speed motorcycle or moped. Passing the first road test lets you move to Level Two (class M2 with L condition).

Passing the second road test gives you restricted class M driving privileges. With this licence, you can drive mopeds and limited-speed motorcycles only; you will not be able to operate a full-powered motorcycle.

The ministry has approved motor scooter training courses. These courses are offered by motorcycle safety associations/colleges and these courses include road testing. Motorcycle safety associations/colleges may also offer motor scooter training courses without road testing. You may contact them directly to see what courses are offered.

We would encourage you to check this website for information on motor scooter training courses.

See also: Licensing for Operators of Motor Scooters and Mopeds

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