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Are Motorists Driving with Foreign Drivers Licenses a Safety Hazard?

Jeffrey S. Witten, B.A., LL.B.
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Personal Injury Lawyer at McComb Witten Marcoux

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Last week I wrote about the RCMP’s decision to change its policy over penalising people driving with Chinese licenses in the Lower Mainland.

They made the right decision.

One that put an end to a  governmental tug of war in which innocent drivers were getting caught in the middle.

But not everyone agrees.

There’s a story in today’s Province in which driving schools raise their concerns over the RCMP’s announcement.

In short, the people quoted in the Province article question the driving abilities of foreign drivers.

They say that until foreign drivers can prove their driving skills are up to “BC STANDARDS” they shouldn’t be allowed to drive in BC.

The Province article raises two issues.

The first is about these so-called ‘standards’ that driving schools want to see upheld.

As anyone who’s got behind the wheel in the Lower Mainland will tell you, the standard of driving here in BC isn’t exactly world class.

In fact the 44,000 car accidents that happen on average here every year suggests that we’ve got a long way to go before we can start preaching to other countries about safe driving.

As the old saying goes… “those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones!"

The second issue here is the insinuation that everyone who carries a foreign license in BC obtained it via a scam. And while there are those type of peoples, in my experience the vast majority of folk who come to our country are extremely honest.

Ok. Admittedly there are clearly tensions when it comes to foreign drivers in BC. But the concerns voiced in the Province article aren’t the type of message we should be sending to new Canadians.

Shouldn’t we be welcoming these people into our country with open arms?

Shouldn’t we make them feel welcome, encourage them to contribute to our society and help them make BC more prosperous?

But how are they supposed to do that if they can’t get from A to B.

I mean, BC’s Lower mainland is huge. How are new Canadians to get around, to take their kids to school and to go to work if they aren’t able to drive?

Is it really too much to ask that they be permitted mobility for a short period of time before being required to obtain a BC license?

I don’t think so.

Jeff Witten

McComb Witten Personal Injury Lawyers

Category: Car Accidents

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