Changes to Nova Scotia’s Graduated Driver Licensing Program are in the works, after a review by the province’s road safety advisory committee. Acting Transportation and Public Works Minister Jamie Muir announced today, Jan. 8, that the program will get an overhaul in the next few months. “Finishing touches are being placed on amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act which will, among other things, strengthen the blood alcohol content restriction on new drivers and extend the term of the learners stage of the program,” said Mr. Muir. “We want new drivers to gain experience in all seasons before they head out on their own.” The road safety advisory committee adopted recommendations of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation report, Best Practices for Graduated Driver Licensing in Canada and MADD Canada to enhance the province’s program. Graduated licensing rules and regulations apply to all novice drivers in the province, regardless of age. It currently spans two-and-a-half years in two stages — a six-month learner phase, followed by a 24-month newly licensed driver phase. Several restrictions apply, notably adult supervision in the learner phase, a 0.00 per cent blood alcohol level requirement and a night driving restriction in the newly licensed driver phase. Nova Scotia was one of the first jurisdictions in North America to implement graduated licensing for new drivers and the amendments will keep the province on the leading edge of the movement. Independent research has shown the program has been effective in reducing crashes and casualties since its inception in October 1994. The road safety advisory committee was established by the province in 1997 to assist in development, implementation and evaluation of government safety strategies relating to drivers, vehicles and roadways. The committee includes representatives from Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, Department of Transportation and Public Works, Department of Justice, Department of Health Promotion and Protection, Nova Scotia Safety Council, RCMP, Police Chiefs Association of Nova Scotia and Insurance Bureau of Canada.