Driving schools: quality questioned
A Journal de Montreal analysis of driver's licence road tests across the province shows the highest failure rate in the province is in Montreal, where nearly 40% of people who take an SAAQ road test fail on their first attempt. The highest success rates are mostly in the regions; for example, in the Gaspé, 94 per cent of people made it on their first try.
Driving school instructors say they see many of their students opting to take their tests off-island to avoid construction zones and tricky highway driving. The other problem is the long wait times in Montreal to take exams. Some driving schools also take their students on the same route used during the tests.
Tom Spiegler from NDG's City Driving School said he's not surprised by all these findings, adding that the number of schools mushrooming in the Montreal area hasn't helped with the quality of instruction and students who finish the courses.
"It's a watered-down quality. I think that the requirements are not quite up to par where they should be," Spiegler told CJAD 800 News.
Marc Vaillancourt, spokesman for the Quebec Automobile Insurance Board, said there is an action plan that's been in place since 2010 to tighten up the rules, and that they do a through follow-up when it comes to trying to reduce waiting times for tests and standardizing road exams.
Spiegler said limiting the number of schools would be a start, though Vaillancourt said that's not an option, insisting they've been tightening rules to discourage fly-by-night schools.
"I think people actually spend more time researching as to which smart phone they'll be buying as opposed to which driving school they'll be registering at," said Spiegler.
"The marketplace will decide: if one is choosing a driving school and you find one school that is several hundred dollars less than the other, I think it should be buyer, beware."
Photo: Shuyee Lee