Ontario G2 license restrictions: what you need to know

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by Alysha Zawaduk September 6, 2019 / No Comments

You’ve passed your written test, practiced driving with a qualified supervisor, and passed the G2 road test. You’re now the proud holder of a G2 driver’s licence and even closer to becoming a fully licenced driver. 

However, before hitting the open road, familiarize yourself with the G2 licence restrictions and other responsibilities that come with driving on your own.

Ontario G2 Licence Restrictions 

G2 licence restrictions can be broken down into two categories – impairment and passengers:

Impairment

  • Your blood alcohol level must be ZERO while driving
  • You cannot drive with ANY cannabis in your system

Passengers

  • Normally, passengers are held responsible for seatbelt use. With your G2, however, you are held responsible for passengers wearing seatbelts. You are only allowed as many passengers as there are working seatbelts in your vehicle.
  • If you are 19 or younger, between the hours of midnight and 5am:

o    for the first six months of having your Ontario G2 licence, you can carry only one passenger aged 19 or under

o   After these first six months or if you turn 20, you may carry up to three passengers aged 19 or under

The above G2 restrictions on the number of young passengers don’t apply if:

  • You have a G licenced driver with 4 or more years of driving experience (years as a G2 driver count) and a blood alcohol level of less than .05 (zero if they are under 21) in the front passenger seat
  • The passengers aged 19 or younger are immediate family members 

While the G2 licence restrictions can seem prohibitive or even pre-emptively punishing, they exist to keep everyone safe, including you.

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What happens if you violate the G2 license restrictions or other traffic laws?

Violating traffic laws can lead to a variety of consequences, including tickets and fines, demerit points, licence suspensions or revocations, and even criminal convictions depending on the offence. 

Certain convictions will also negatively affect your Ontario car insurance quotes. The impact on your car insurance fees will vary depending on the seriousness of the offence.

Novice — or G1 and G2 drivers, unlike fully licenced G drivers, are subject to escalating penalties. This doesn’t apply to all traffic laws but specifically if you:

  • Break your G2 licence restrictions
  • Commit a serious offence (one that would result in 4 or more demerit points, such as driving 30km+ over the speed limit or careless driving)

If you violate the zero tolerance conditions for alcohol and cannabis use: 

  • Your licence will be suspended roadside — 
    • Your licence will be immediately suspended for 3 days on your first offence, 7 days on your second, and 30 days on your third
    • You can’t drive home — if you have a sober passenger, they can drive
    • If not, you can leave your car at the roadside if it is a safe and appropriate location to do so OR the police will have your car towed and impounded at your expense
    • You will face a $250 fine if this is your first offence, $350 if it’s your second, or $450 if it’s your third

These are temporary suspensions. If convicted of violating zero tolerance or of committing a serious offence:

  • On your first conviction, your licence will be suspended for 30 days
  • On your second, it will be suspended for 90
  • On your third, your G2 licence will be revoked and you’ll have to start the graduated licencing process again

What you can do with a G2 Driver’s Licence

With a G2 driver’s licence, you have more privileges than you had with a G1. You can now drive:

  • without a supervisor
  • on highways
  • between midnight and 5.a.m.

You can also be the primary policy holder for auto insurance! Exciting, right?

Ok, that sounds really unexciting – less exciting than, say, finally buying that sweet ride you’ve had your eye on. But buying car insurance is what makes it possible to drive that sweet ride legally and safely. 

Independence comes with much more responsibility. G1 drivers don’t need to be listed on insurance policies — their qualified supervisor and/or owner of the car they’re driving is responsible for them. With your G2 you’ll often drive on your own, so safety is your responsibility by way of insurance. 

Don’t buy a car before considering the cost of insurance. Different cars and features affect insurance costs. So be sure to look at car insurance quotes for prospective vehicles while you’re shopping, not after you’ve bought. If you’re using someone else’s car, be extra cautious, you’ll be using their policy and any collision  will affect their rates. 

Your insurance will be more slightly more expensive than when you get your full G licence, but the significant drop will come when you turn 25. New and young drivers are considered a high-risk demographic. Sure, you’ve proven you can drive safely enough to graduate to your G2 licence, but your track record of safe, responsible driving is fairly short. 

However, if you can prove that you might be a little more safe or responsible than other G2 drivers, you might get insurance discounts. One way to do this is to complete a  government-approved driving course. Some insurance companies offer discounted student car insurance or special rates to alumni of Ontario post-secondary institutions. Some insurance companies (such as AllState and Desjardins insurance) even reward good grades – a demonstration of responsibility — with discounts.

Overall, the best way to find out how these and other factors will influence your car insurance premiums and get the best rates is simply to compare car insurance quotes.

One year after G2 licence restrictions – time to get your full G licence!

You can take the Class G road test after driving with your G2 for 12 months. You do have 5 years, though, from the time you got your G1 to get your full G licence. 

You’ll have to declare your driving experience when you go for the G test as it relates to the more advanced skills that the G road test covers. If you don’t have enough highway experience, for example, you can’t take the test. So, if you aren’t ready for your G after 12 months, wait! You’ve got plenty of time to practice your driving skills.

Once you’re ready, book your road test. It will be the same process and requirements as when you took the G2 road test.

You can take the test as many times as you need to pass. Of course, each time you take the test, you’ll have to pay the applicable fees. And if your G2 expires before you pass, you’ll have to start the graduated licencing process over again.

Once you pass – congratulations! Unless you’re under 21 – in which case your blood alcohol and cannabis levels must still be zero while driving — you can drive without any additional restrictions. Keep the skills and knowledge you learned throughout the program with you in the future as a fully licenced driver. Stay safe!

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