New Driving Rules in New Brunswick (for new drivers)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Oh ... my poor home province. I know you are going through some rough times right now with everything and as much as I some times tend to disagree with some of your stances and decisions .. this one, I have to say I support 100%.

Apparently, new driving rules are coming into effect in the near future in New Brunswick for all drivers UNDER 21. They all have some impact on the graduated license system that New Brunswick (and several other provinces use).

Looking through the changes, I really don't see what the big deal is and why everyone wants to protest the changes. So, let's examine these changes that are taking place ...

As of June, 1st, 2009 the provincial government of New Brunswick will be instituting new driving laws within the province, mainly for those in the graduated license system. These new rules will include:

Level 1 licensees (before road test)

Must be accompanied by a driver who has a Class 5 licence or better, at least three years of driving experience and is seated in the front passenger seat

Cannot drive between midnight and 5 a.m.

Can take their road test after eight months if they complete a licensed driver training course.

Those who do not complete such a course must wait for 12 months to do the test.

hmmm .... these sound pretty familiar so far ... I think my 'waiting' period between getting my permit, taking the course and my road test was 4 months ... although it did wind up being more like 8 as I was away for much of the summer playing field hockey..... that cannot drive between midnight and 5 am is new but was also a rule my parents imposed on me rather than the government - that was the deal. Car is in the driveway by midnight or I was a dead duck. So what's the issue here ... government making decisions to help make the roads safer or the government taking on the roll that a parent should be? Ahem... my mother would like to point out that it was the car that had to be in the drive way by midnight ... not me. All I had to do was drop the car off in the driveway no later than 12:00am and then hop into someone else's car to continue the evening's festivities. Thankfully, this only lasted that first year :-D

Even now as a 27 (almost 28 year old), if I'm driving back or to somewhere's, my goal is to be off of the road by midnight no matter what. After midnight, you're exhausted - you mind isn't as alert and your reflexes are usually pretty shot by then.

Level 2 licensees (after road test)

Cannot drive between midnight and 5 a.m., except for education or work purposes, or if they’re accompanied by a driver who has a Class 5 licence or better, and at least three years of driving experienc

Cannot have more than three passengers in the vehicle, and no more than one passenger in the front seat.

All drivers under the age of 21 will be restricted to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of zero.

Wow! OMG! The government is putting restrictions on when 16 year olds can drive! Oh No! Let's stop and think of this. Why would some one between the ages of 16-18 really need to be on the road between 12am and 5am? Uhm .. can we say munchies? Driving around with no purpose? The rules are not saying that you cannot be out driving - what they are saying is that unless you have a valid reason to be on the road (school, work, and you know, they will probably even let emergencies slide) then don't go on the road. Oh no! only three passengers in my car? That's all I could fit in my car (I drove a Neon) ... and yet again, that was also a rule that my parents placed on me as well as a early driver .. come to think of it, I was only allowed one passenger for the first year of my driving unless I asked if it was ok to have more than one first (to which my parents were completely fine with). Oh - and I had to abide by the whole BAC of zero too for the year I was on my G2 .. which coincidentally also was when I was of legal age. But Oh no! My parents stepped in again here ... and said No drinkie you can have car. You go drinkie no car. Common freaking sense. You drink you don't drive. Period.


If any of these laws are broken and you are caught the following penalities are:

More than 3 passengers: 172.50$ + 3 points
Driving after midnight: 172.50$ + 3 points
No accompanying driver: 172.50$ + 3 points

Ok, maybe I find these a little off the wall ... but then again, I'm pretty sure I had a fine system that I had to abide by to .. in particular the accompanying driver (but only while I was under my G1).

I'm all for my government stepping in to make sure that the roads that I drive, bike and walk on are safer. And if these little changes to Driving rules helps, then so be it. Too often I have seen youth driving around recklessly thinking that they are invincible ... until they wind up wrapping themselves around a tree or injuring/killing some one else.

Gee ... I wonder if we could get something like this started up in Nunavut but applied to Skidoos and Honda's driven by my students at reckless speeds at all hours I cringe every time I see one of them go buy as 9/10 the either wipe out, do a 360 or nearly run into someone coming in the opposite direction


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a complicated system. I did not know that they had Dodge Neons where you lived.

Kennie said...

Hello anonymous - it's more more complicated than what most other provinces have .. it's not that bad actually. I was on the early end of the graduated system so I guess they finally worked out all of the kinks.

And down in NB we have all sorts of fun cars to get us around .. no way on earth it would work up here in Nunavut tho.

Matthew and Michele said...

The old home province doesn't take well to change of any kind.

My wife and I both missed out on the graduated license system. Just showed up to wright the test and two or three weeks later did the road test. If you passed you got the full class 5 liscence if you failed you had to wait 4 weeks to try again.

Here's a scary thought. I failed the written once and the driving test twice before finally passing. I didn't get my first ticket until I was 25 and didn't have my first accident until I was 32.

Matthew and Michele said...

Sorry about the spelling. Yikes.

Kennie said...

Haha - no worries about spelling and grammar here Matthew .. I leave that to Megan (tee-hee).

And yes, homeland does have some (ok, alot) of issues with change .. but this one, I think is a good one.

I'm still waiting for my first ticket (although, I did get a couple of parking tickets) and already had my first accident (it wasn't my fault either but got ruled a at-no-fault). So, hopefully smooth sailing from here on out! No matter what, all drivers are destined to have at least one accident (most before the age of 25) and tickets.. well.. they are a fact of life .. like having to go to the dentist once a year :-)

down south said...

We weren't that hard on you. You could stay out as late as you wanted.... the CAR had to be home by midnight. I thought that was fair!

Kennie said...

That's what I said ... isn't it? At least that's what I was thinking while typing this :-) I thought it was very fair ... some times slightly inconvenient but fair.

Jennith said...

I know in Ontario they were recently trying to do the same thing and there was some concern that limiting passangers at night was bad for the environment and made it less likely that a designated driver was driving home as opposed to someone who'd been drinking....I've been driving for 16 years and I still follow a if I'm planing to drive in the next 8 hours... no drink. It just ain't worth it... I want my whole brain on the job if I'm driving, especially if I am responsible for other people in my car.

Anonymous said...

These new driving laws may stop a few accidents but it will cause alot more because most designated drivers are under 21 and they have there license. IT could mean the difference between an intoxicated driver putting people at risk by driving home or a responsible driver driving them home and being under 21. I may be only 12 myself but ill be driving in a few years and if this law comes into affect i will not be able to drive after midnight. Some times you have to, if u go to the hospital and you are there untill say 12:00am then you have to drive home. Thanks for reading yall.

Anonymous said...

This is an extremely unacceptable act of justice. I think this isn't fair, instead of taking away our freedom to make mature drivers they should offer free driving lessons at school. How are we supposed to become good driver's if we never get the chance to prove ourselves?

Anonymous said...

you mean.

Anonymous said...

hi hogger! i aree with you man!

Anonymous said...

hi heaf

Kennie said...

Dear three Anonymous responders,

By all means please add constructive thoughts to this blog, but please do not use this area as a way to do a shout out to your friends (Hogger and Heaf)

Now to the second anonymous who was requesting free drivers ed at school - many larger schools in NB actually do offer Drivers Ed as a CREDIT towards graduation ... but only if there is enough people interested.

And to the first Anonymous - I am sure that there will be exceptions to the 'no driving after midnight rule' - as in the cases of coming home from the hospital (although, depending on what you are going home after with, the hospital might tell you not to drive either) or for emergencies.

And to teachers who are letting their students respond to blog posts online - please encourage your students to use proper grammar and leave a name - if not a same, perhaps a concerned student from XYZ school?

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J said...

What about me? I am someone affected by the change. I have been driving for 1 year and 21 months with a class 7 , yet because I do not have a complete class 5, nor do I turn 21 for another 3 months from the date of the enforcement of this new legislation my life has been made difficult. I have been driving without incident for that period of time, and often between the hours of 12-5am. I will not be able to do many of the things I would normally do. What if I want to see a movie on a Friday night, as I work full time with overtime in the summer from 40-60 hours a week I can usually only catch a late show starting at 9:30 and ending at 12:20 now due to this new law I cannot drive my vehicle. Am I expected to leave my vehicle, and walk the five kilometers to my home,or just cab it, and return with another cab at 5:01 to retrieve it(that is a lot of expense to see a movie, especially for a student). I am at a loss with my only cost effective a method of transportation.

For two of my roommates who work into the late hours of the night, and early mornings I was there only method of transport. What happens when they cannot be picked up because it is not for work related to me, as the driver I would be at fault if I went to get them.

I am able to vote, join the military, own a fire-arm, and purchase alcohol, but I can no longer get myself home without paying out the nose to do so.

This change in legislature has brought about one good thing there will be many more youth tuned into political happenings, and keeping such future discrimination(which is what it is)from happening.

If one of my friends who can drive is stranded, and stupid am I suppose to let them look for a ride with a stranger because I would be breaking the law to get them? Isn't this amendment suppose to also battle drinking, and driving?

The zero-alcohol tolerance policy is excellent, and should have already been in affect. It is just common sense above law, as it is unsafe to drive, or operate any machinery even while on mild cough medication.

What about a change to the legislation involving cell phones, drinking coffee, or smoking while driving these are all unsafe acts; more unsafe then a 18, 19 or 20 year old who signals before turning “a rarity even in seasoned drivers in this province”. If the overall outcome government wishes to obtain is less fatalities, and automotive related injuries perhaps these things should be banned.

Safety is the key in life with all things. Work, and play but this piece of legislature is going about it ass backwards. So, I employ you to consult with your local leaders, and youth look at things from all angles hold off on the June first change. We are not all speed demons or young alcoholics.

For those of us who are students and work full time jobs in the summers and wish to still enjoy times with friends and family it will become an impossibility. I leave work at 930 and drive to Fredericton to visit friends, am I going to be fined a penalty I cannot afford and lose my only method of transportation.

PS. Kennie I kind of dislike how you changed your view on the requirements of proper grammar and correct spelling from May 21 to the 26th. If the guy was doing his best that's all one can ask for.

Peace and long life.
Remember, Remember the fifth of November

Kennie said...

Hello J,

Now, if I was in your situation, I would be rather concerned too - maybe this is an issue that should be addressed to GNB / SNB / the 'man' in charge. I don't know if that scenario has been looked at yet, BUT from what I've understood, some of these changes won't be in effect until October .. and since you are so close to having your full Class 5 you might be one of the fortunate ones that will be grandfathered through the system (I'd check that out - as many times when changes are occurring to a system, those who are already past a certain point are usually allowed to finish on the system that they started in).

From what I have gathered from a variety of sources is that the June 1 change is going to affect NEW drivers (ie: getting their learner permits / G1 and new G2s) not those that are already on their G1/G2 (like you).

I can see your point on the working late transportation needs (which is clearly stated that working needs is not against the new rules), and the stranded friends. It's going to be a a balancing act for a while until all of the kinks are worked through. What I have a feeling is going on is that GNB would like to limit the 'recreational use of vehicles at night' (ie: driving around town with a bunch of friends in a car for no apparent reason).

Banning cell phone use while in vehicles? I am all for that. Too often I have seen people texting while driving (and have even been a witness to several fender benders due to cell phone use. I have a cell phone, but when I'm behind the wheel, all calls go to my VM - I can always retrieve them when I reach my destination.

"Safety is the key in life with all things. Work, and play but this piece of legislature is going about it ass backwards. So, I employ you to consult with your local leaders, and youth look at things from all angles hold off on the June first change. We are not all speed demons or young alcoholics." - you have hit the issue right on the dime here. All of these changes are about safety - whether the government is going about it the right way or not is debatable.

J, you've raised many good issues (and flaws?) with the proposed changes, I encourage you to bring these to the legislative table to have those in power re-examine the proposed changes.

As a side note....

The grammar issue. I'm a teacher. I have to encourage proper grammar use and spelling - whether or not this is followed, I can't control - nor will I delete non grammatically correct postings. So all I can do is encourage proper language use for communication purposes.

J said...

Thank you Kennie for reading my post and responding.

The current class 7 I's are not affected by this change other than when they become 7 II's and the same rules apply. However all level II's like me are affected directly(unless of course they are over the "New age of Majority" in New Brunswick 21").

Sorry, for sounding bitter today, it has been a long day.(It's a blog, so I think there's a rule that a poster is suppose to be bitter.) **Just a little web humor.

There were a few mistakes in my post I wish to correct, so here it goes... almost as if I have written it somewhere before(I will sound repetitive on some subjects)

No one wants things taken away from them especially when they have done nothing wrong.

Driving is a privilege; I was given this privilege in June of 07 with the restriction of one licensed accompanying driver and no restriction as to when I drive; then again I was given another privilege in Sept of 08 after testing I was permitted to drive my vehicle on my own at anytime as long as I abide by laws and regulations set out before me. I followed the rules, and did not believe I would lose that privilege. What law did I break?

I also question how a 21 year old with just enough driving to receive their class 7 II, is considered a safer driver than another class 7 II with a greater nine months of driving experience. Did something happen to me before I was born I am unaware of?
I have done what was required of me and was told I could have this privilege. Why has it been taken away?

(There are ways around wronging people like me).
Note: I have been driving for 2 years not 1 year 21 months

Anonymous said...

I think this new rule is absoult bull sh*t. I'm an 18 year old, who's had their licence for 2 years now, and is no longer able to drive between the hours of 12am to 5am? I find that this law was quickly thought of without much thought of the people. As with the Off road vechile law in New Brunswick. I guess I'm going to have to call my mother or father who I don't live with to come pick me and drive me to Macdonalds to buy me a happy meal, as the government thinks as we are ALL childish drivers

Kennie said...

J - be as bitter as you like over here ... I can see where the frustration is coming from. From what I interpreted from the changes (based on the info that GNB released) it was going to affect only new drivers to the system not those who are already on the 7 system (even if they are under 21). However, if this is not the case, this is when you (drivers under 21 with their 7) should come together an rally out front of SNB's and the legislature.

The one thing that no one has really answered yet is what will be happening to all of the under 21s with their class 5. Will they be subject to these new rules as well just because they are under 21 or will they be spared because they jumped on the early bandwagon to get their license. If my age-estimations are correct, there should be a number of 18-19 year olds with their Class 5 if they got their permit when they were 16.

I still believe that the changes are good and should be adopted, however, I think the issue is going to be of implementation and how it will roll out throughout the system with the least negative effect (ie: current 7 II's being jerked around).

Canadian Classic said...

So say if somone has had there licence for 13 months now, and there 18. Are they still applied to the new rule, even tho the had there licence before this rule?

Kennie said...

Canadian Classic: are you on your Class 5 or Class 7 II (G2).

For those under 21 that have their G5 (full license as you are no longer on the graduated system) you should be in the clear. But if you are still on the graduated license system, you might (and most likey) will be affected by these changes.

Kennie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

im 18 turn 19 in nov and had my license for about a year and a half now where do i even fall under

Kennie said...

Are you a G1 or G2?

This is the part that I don't think ANYONE including GNB knows where they stand. Are those that are currently on a G2 that have been driving for 1.5 years in the clear? What about those who have their Class 5 but are under 21? How do these rules affect them?

All I can recommend is call SNB / GNB and ask the question.

In this "clarification" release, it does state that The only provision that applies to all drivers younger than 21 is that they will be required to maintain a zero-per-cent blood alcohol content when driving. So this applies to you wether you have your graduated license or are on your class 7.

With respect to the restrictions on driving between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m., the following rules will apply effective June 1:
Level 1 licensees (before road test) cannot drive between midnight and 5 a.m.; and
Level 2 licensees younger than age 21 (after road test) cannot drive between midnight and 5 a.m., except for education or work purposes, or if they are accompanied by a driver who has a Class 5 licence or better, and who has at least three years of driving experience.
The 'no-driving' between 12am and 5am still stand whether you are on a G1 or G2 and are under 21. HOWEVER, if you are on your class 5 and are under 21 these rules do not apply - you are in the clear.

And remember, education and work purposes can be VERY broad (ie: It's 3am, and I'm just leaving the UNB SUB after working on a group project .. or it's 2am and the HIL finally kicked me out - you were on campus for educational purposes ... or work - my shift at the theater just ended and it's 1:00am ...)

Now the only thing this doesn't address is school team sports. Technically it's an educational endeavor .. so you might be in the clear.

What is actually the most interesting tid bit of this 'clarification' is that these changes to the Motor Vehicle act were PASSED UNANIMOUSLY by a voice vote in the legislative assembly on June 18, 2008.

And of course, there is also this release regarding the changes as well

Anonymous said...

I just have a quick question. I am 22 but I only took my road test and passed a few months ago, am I affected or not because I'm over the age of 21?

hillary said...

The government is simply foolish is getting to over-welmed in all their power. Stop trying to be a parent! The fact is that June 3, just two days after the rule of no driving between midnight and five a.m. a car crash in Woostock, New Brunswick took place at 3 a.m. everyone in the car was ages 20-25. Additionaly, new drivers are more aware of whats going on, on the road, they know the rules better, and don't have these bad habits like more "experienced" drives, becasue we don't have time to develop them!

hillary said...

The government they're simply foolish is getting to over-welmed in all their power. Stop trying to be a parent! The fact is that June 3, just two days after the rule of no driving between midnight and five a.m. a car crash in Woostock, New Brunswick took place at 3 a.m. everyone in the car was ages 20-25. Additionaly, new drivers are more aware of whats going on, on the road, they know the rules better, and don't have these bad habits like more "experienced" drives, becasue we don't have time to develop them!

Anonymous said...

I have a question, with prom comming up so quickly and it not being over until after 11 and by the time we cleaned up it would be after 12. With the place we are staying is over 1/2 hour away. How are we supposed to do that or does Prom count as a school event??

Kennie said...

Hello Anonymous (of June 9). That is a good question. You could stretch the definition of school event to prom .. but I have a feeling they (the government) is more thinking of things like study group, or late night classes ... yet again, I can only suggest to everyone with questions in regard to the changes to contact their local SNB to get clarification.

Anonymous said...

The only part I have a problem with is the waiting period. New Brunswick is a lot of wilderness, not much public transport and it is difficult if not impossible in some places to get anywhere without a car. I'm 35 years old, I need to get a license asap because my situation has changed and I now need one to get to and from work, not to mention get food and necessities. I can't wait 8 to 12 months. It isn't just people whining about restrictions in some cases it affects entire lives due to the necessity. My only other choice is to move a great distance away because there is no public transportation available and even then, it won't entirely solve my problem.

Joe said...

i think the law is a very good idea, but i think thay should change the (12pm to 5am)rule. some young drivers might have kids and need to go to a 24hr store to get something for that child...

Anonymous said...

"Why would some one between the ages of 16-18 really need to be on the road between 12am and 5am? Uhm .. can we say munchies? Driving around with no purpose? The rules are not saying that you cannot be out driving - what they are saying is that unless you have a valid reason to be on the road"

- as an 18 year old who just recieved his class 5 and having to put up with taxi-ing home from friends houses and movies, i find this comment ofensive, a 16-18 year old has just as much right to be able to drive after 12 am as a 40 year old, in my personal opinion more accidents are caused by drunk drivers driving home from bars, who isnt a drunk driver oh? non legal teens? these laws are unessecary and anyone who thinks they need to drive after midninght more than a highschool student is out of their mind, cheers.

Anonymous said...


Does anyone have an idea where the official policy is posted online? I'd like to use it as a reference in a paper I'm writing, but all I can find is discussions on the topic.


Disappointed NB Citizen said...

Hey I just have a question I would like someone to clarify if possible. I obtained my level 1 when i turned 16 but i did not obtain my level 2 until after i turned 18, I passed the road test in March of this year, so that being said I'm confused on whether or not I will have to wait 1 year or 2 years for class 5 after I have obtained G2? Because the no driving after midnight law is bullcrap, i live 45 minutes worth of driving away from the nearest town with malls and theaters, so if i wanted to watch a late movie, i'd be screwed, this law about late night driving is bogus, do they not realise that the roads are most dangerous during daytime? Some of the people on the roads during the day drive like maniacs, cutting you off, attempting to squeeze by you when there's on-coming traffic, I feel safer at night where I meet the few odd cars. And I myself would rather drive myself around at night rather than having to hitch-hike and wind up dead in some shady old man's pick-up truck. (Since my community doesn't have taxis)

Anonymous said...

hello well i want you to think about this one age does not provide an accurate measure on driving capability... also as such is this to say that its 11 o clock.. just as dark as its gonna be at 12 o clock but its safe at 11? the fact you are allowed to drive if its for education purposes or work purposes makes it any less "dangerous" how?
if a car is built for 5 people.. for example, then its made to be as safe as possible for 5 people, one driver and 4 passengers, how does have 1 passenger differ from having 2 passengers? it creates no more danger for the driver
then having a car load of people.... passengers are now a danger to the driver? then why make a 5 person vehicle? why dont they take a look at why you are zero tolerance to liquor when under 21 but when you are 21 u can consume a certain amount of liquor and drive.. last time i checked age had no effect on liquor tolerance, and liquor tolerance isnt the same for everyone.
giving new drivers time to gain driving experience in the day time at 1 o clock on a weekday gives the new driver experience in the day time at 1 o clock on a week day.. not allowing a driver to drive at nigth strips them of experience that could be gained because night driving is not the same as day driving for obvious reasons, visibility being one. but then again what are lights and street lights for?
lets look at elderly crashes, lets look at adult crashes who have had there license for more then 3 years.. theres lots of statistics i imagine that would show a lot of accidents... and thats it an accident is an accident.. an adult with his license for 4 years doesnt mean they know how to drive lol

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