How P.E.I. driving tests are now being done without contact
'It's safer for the client and safer for staff because there's no contact'
The days of anxious driving tests with examiners sitting next to you in the passenger seat could be over on P.E.I. due to COVID-19 health measures — at least for the foreseeable future.
For the past couple of weeks, P.E.I.'s highway safety division has been conducting contactless tests designed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
"It's safer for the client and safer for staff because there's no contact and the person basically does not have to come into the building until they're finished the test," said Doug MacEwen, with P.E.I.'s Department of Transportation.
Once drivers arrive to do their test, they pull into a designated parking spot and call a number to inform the examiner they've arrived.
The examiner then brings out documents and forms that need to be signed and a dashboard camera, which is installed in the passenger area of the car.
The examiner also helps the driver doing the test connect their phone to the car's Bluetooth system or setup a two-way radio so they can communicate during the test. Once the test begins, the examiner follows behind the driver, offering them instructions along the way. There must be another licensed driver in the vehicle, by law, but they are not permitted to give instruction.
MacEwen said drivers seem more at ease and comfortable being tested this way.
"It's a little nerve-racking to have an examiner sitting beside you in the vehicle for some folks," he said.
So far, the division has completed about 40 contactless tests.
MacEwen said he anticipates the division will continue with the new testing model until they hear from the Chief Public Health Office on when they will be permitted to do in-person tests again.
While the tests do take a little longer under the new format, MacEwen said the feedback has been very positive.
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With files from Angela Walker