Thinking About How to Become a Mechanic? Check Out the History of the Driving Test

 how to become a mechanicDo you remember taking your driving test? Whether you passed the first time or fifth, it’s an important milestone in any young person’s life, particularly those that love cars and dream of becoming mechanics.

But did you know that before the 1950s, you didn’t need to take a driving test to drive in Quebec? All you needed was a car and a number plate. Since then, there have been a lot of changes to the system to make roads safer for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Read on to find out a little bit about the history of the driving test in Quebec.

The First Drivers’ Licenses Identified Drivers and Didn’t Test Ability

The drivers’ license existed almost half a century before the driving test. However, unlike drivers’ licenses today, it didn’t prove an individuals’ ability to drive safely. Instead, it just identified them as the legal owner of a vehicle. The first drivers’ license was assigned on 9th March 1906 to Ucal-Henri Dandurand and his De Dion-Bouton.

There were two types of drivers’ licenses that people could apply for: driver and chauffeur. A chauffeurs’ license meant that you were legally allowed to earn money driving others. The licenses had to be renewed each year and cost just $5 – around $140 in today’s money.

By the end of 1906, there were more than 150 cars on roads in Montreal, and each of these were registered to a driver. This may not seem like a lot to students in auto mechanic college, but it was a rapid increase in less than 12 months.

The first drivers' license in Quebec was registered to Ucal Henri-Dandurand in 1906
The first drivers’ license in Quebec was registered to Ucal Henri-Dandurand in 1906

The Introduction of the Number Plate

As well as a license, drivers also needed a number plate to register their vehicle. The first number plate in Quebec was assigned to Dandurand in 1906 and read ‘Q-01’. At this time, drivers had to make their own number plates and sometimes painted them directly onto the car paint. It wasn’t until two years later that the government would make standardized number plates for drivers to attach to their cars.

The Traffic Law That Aimed to Reduce Road Accidents and Improve Safety

As cars were becoming more common, so were accidents. In 1924, there were an estimated 100,000 vehicles on the road. At this time, the first Highway Safety Code was created to make sure that all drivers were following the same rules and driving practices.
However, students in mechanic programs might not be surprised to learn that there were still safety issues. In 1938, more than 10,000 accidents had been reported, caused by speeding, drunk driving, and recklessness. In response to this, chapters were added to the Highway Safety Code to create rules against unsafe driving.

The First Driving Test Was Taken in 1955

It wasn’t until the 1950s that the drivers’ license began to closely resemble today’s system. In 1952, the Duplessi Government introduced the first-ever Minister of Transportation and Communications in Quebec.

In 1955, it was announced that aspiring drivers would have to take a test to prove that they were safe to drive behind the wheel independently and had a good understanding of the Highway Safety Code.

What Auto Mechanic College Students Should Know About the Driving Test Today

Nowadays, in Quebec you need to be at least 16 years old to drive. However, if a driver is under 18, they might need to provide parent permission. After this, they will need to pass a theory and practical test, and prove that they learnt with an accredited driving school. They can then finally get their drivers’ license from the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ).

Today, learner drivers in Quebec need to pass a practical and theory test
Today, learner drivers in Quebec need to pass a practical and theory test

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