Why new drivers in Kamloops, Okanagan are still waiting for road tests | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Why new drivers in Kamloops, Okanagan are still waiting for road tests

Akshay Kumar (right) with a student driver at Kami Driving School in Kamloops.

Some student drivers are waiting months to take road tests in the province due to a backlog that was created at the onset of the pandemic.

ICBC temporarily suspended road tests due to the COVID-19 pandemic for class 5 and 7 licenses between March and July of 2020.

“We continue to manage demand stemming from the temporary suspension,” ICBC said in an email to iNFOnews. “Another factor was that our driver examiners weren’t able to complete as many road tests per day due to strict COVID-related safety protocols.”

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Akshay Kumar has been a driving instructor at Kami Driving School since 2017. He said it is an ongoing struggle getting his students trained and licensed due to COVID-19.

“Instructors are doing limited lessons because we have to sanitize our cars after every lesson which takes time,” Kumar said. “There are frequent lesson cancellations due to cough and cold symptoms. When a student is ready for a test, they have much longer wait times than normal. Some of my students are checking with ICBC regularly for driving test cancellations hoping to get in earlier.”

Recently, in alignment with B.C.’s Restart Plan under the guidance of the Provincial Health Officer, ICBC has been able to get the number of tests each examiner can do per day back up to pre-pandemic levels.

“We’re doing everything we can to keep up with the demand and we appreciate our customers’ patience,” ICBC said. “We evaluate appointment availability frequently to help us allocate resources efficiently throughout the province.”

This year there was a surge in the number of people looking to obtain their driver’s license, which is putting additional pressure on road test availability, according to ICBC.

Despite the pressure on road testing, to date 51 per cent of customers taking a class 5 and 7 road test in B.C. have waited less than 60 days for their appointment. For context, in 2019, 50 per cent of customers waited less than 60 days for their appointment.

“To address the demand for road testing, we’re continuously recruiting and training driver examiners,” ICBC said. “As a result, we’ve significantly increased the number of driver examiners throughout the province and many of our driver examiners have been working overtime.”

Kumar encourages his students to continue to follow health and safety protocols and to keep practising every day while they wait for their tests.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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