Young novice drivers in Ontario may one day be forced to identify themselves while driving.
Alex Don, 18, has drafted a petition that asks the Ontario government to require young drivers to display a “P” sign (for provisional) on the rear of their vehicles. The identification tells other motorists that an inexperienced driver is at the wheel.
The idea began when Don visited friends and family in Australia. His Australian friend was looking for his “P” card and explained that if he didn’t have it, he wouldn’t be able to drive.
“After doing some research, I found out that young drivers are the most at risk drivers on the road and I thought this could be improved,” Don said.
Campaigning for the “P” designation in Ontario started out as a way for Don to earn 40 hours of community service. His idea has gained the support of Oakville MPP Kevin Flynn, as well as the chief of police for Halton Region and Burlington City Council.
Don, a Grade 12 student at Assumption Catholic Secondary School in Burlington, Ont., first got involved in politics in 2007 when he was a page at the Ontario Legislature. It was there he met politicians and made personal connections to move his idea forward.
Fernando Costa, a youth counsellor at his school, is one of Don’s biggest supporters. Costa describes Don as having “Sidney Crosby or Wayne Gretzky” like work ethic, maturity and leadership.
“He sees life in a much more grown up way,” Costa said.
There is an emotional connection to Don’s purposed “P” sign program. He remembered that in 2008, while he was coaching a boy’s soccer team at Bishop Reding Secondary School in Milton, Ont., two senior boys on the team were killed in a car crash.
British Columbia has a similar program in place; according to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) within the first three years of the “L” sign and “N” sign program, new driver accident rates went down 16 per cent.