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Q

I have the learner's class 7 license in Nova Scotia. Can I drive out of province with it, legally?


A

We contacted the Nova Scotia Registry of Motor Vehicles to see if you were allowed to drive out of province with only a Class 7 learner's license. The response we received said that Nova Scotia allowed you to drive out of province but you would be required to contact whichever jurisdiction(s) you will be driving in for their rules and regulations for an individual with a Class 7 learner's license.

If you contact the NS RMV and tell them which province(s) you will be driving in they can provide you with contact information for that jurisdiction. The representative also noted that if you require any further information regarding this matter, to contact the RMV office at 424-5851 or toll-free at 1-800-898-7668.

While we would still advise you to contact the licensing agency of each Canadian province or territory you plan on driving through here is some information we previously obtained about driving in some other areas of Canada with a learner's license or permit that may be useful.

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A representative from Service Alberta stated that you may drive in Alberta a learner's permit. Alberta does require that the adult over 18 years of age with a full driver's license be sitting in the front passenger seat. For further questions on this subject contact the Ministry of Service Alberta at 780-427-7013. They have toll-free access within Alberta if you first dial 310-0000.

The Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) office told us that you may drive in Manitoba with your valid learner's license in Manitoba for up to three months and must be at least 16 years of age. In addition the supervising driver must have held a full class 5 driver's license for at least three years and have less than .05 blood alcohol content. You would also follow the rules and regulations from your home jurisdiction. You may also want to contact your insurance company for coverage while driving in Manitoba. You can contact the MPI at 1-800-665-2410.

In Saskatchewan driver licensing and testing is handled by Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI). A representative of SGI stated that as long as you follow the restrictions on your learner's license and have a supervising driver with you at all times, there would be no additional restrictions while you are in Saskatchewan. Please note, however, if you drive a Saskatchewan plated vehicle, you cannot drive it outside of Saskatchewan.

If you have any further questions regarding driving in Saskatchewan you can contact their Customer Service Centre at 775-6900 or toll free at 1-800-667-9868.

As for Quebec, the SAAQ representative we spoke with stated that with just a learner's license you would not be allowed to operate a vehicle in Quebec.

Here is basic information on the stages of the Nova Scotia graduated drivers license process. The first stage of the Nova Scotia graduated driver licensing program is the learner's license. With a Class 7 learner's permit allows you to drive cars, pick-up trucks, sport utility vehicles, vans seating less than 10 people. You must be at least 16 years of age to obtain this permit and it is valid for 1 year. You need parental consent to get the permit if you are under 18.

To get the permit you must have to pass a written test, which has 2 parts: One is on traffic and safe driving rules, and the other is on Nova Scotia highway signs. Each part has 20 multiple-choice questions, and you have to get at least 16 right on each part to pass. You have to pass both parts to get your license. If you fail one part, you have to take the entire test over. You must pay a knowledge test fee and also pass a vision test. Once you pass the tests you then pay a license. You will also need to complete an application form and bring accepted forms of identification.

The permit is good for 1 year and it if you have not moved up to a Class 5N license by the twelfth month you must reapply (and take all the tests over) for the learner's license. However you will not have to wait an additional 3 or 6 months before being allowed to take the 5N road test. A Learner's License has a large letter "L" on it to alert police that you are a Learner.

With a learner's license there are certain restrictions. They are:

  • You must drive with an experienced driver in the front seat and no other passengers. It is illegal for you to drive with a Learner's License in Nova Scotia unless someone who is an experienced driver is seated in the front seat of the vehicle.
  • Someone counts as an "experienced driver" only if they have a valid regular driver's license. The person does not count as an experienced driver if the license they have is a newly licensed driver's license. They must have held a valid driver's license for at least 2 years and is no longer in the GDL program.
  • The Nova Scotia Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) notes that if someone who does not count as an "experienced driver" is caught pretending to be one, they will be fined, and have points put on their license, and sometimes even lose their license. And the learner driver could lose their license as well.
  • The person who is serving as the experienced driver has to be in control of the situation so that they can help the learner driver if they have to.
  • No passengers are allowed in the learning license stage. Besides that one experienced driver in the front seat, no other people can be in the vehicle when you are driving with a learner's license.
  • Your blood level must remain at zero. When you have a learner's license, the tolerance for alcohol content in your blood when you are driving is zero. That means, if you are stopped while driving, and asked to take a breathalyzer test, and it shows any alcohol content at all in your blood, your license will be suspended for 6 months. If your blood alcohol level is over .05, you may get an immediate 24-hour roadside suspension; if it is over .08, you will be arrested and your license will be suspended for a full year. And after your suspension is over, you will have to start over as a Learner.

There are 2 exceptions to the passenger restriction. If the you are taking a road test there can be more than 1 examiner in the vehicle with you and if you are practicing in a car that has dual brake controls with an approved driving instructor in the front seat than there can be as many as 3 students in the back seat of the car, provided there are enough seat belts for them.

There are no night driving restrictions for a Class 7 learner driver since they must always have an experienced driver with them in the front seat at all times. For Motorcycle learners and newly licensed driver's there are night driving restrictions though.

If you violate these restrictions on your learner's license you can receive penalties as well as demerit points. If you get 4 or more demerit points your license will be suspended for 6 months. The suspension will delay your taking the road test and moving up to the newly licensed driver stage of the Nova Scotia GDL program.

After your learner's license, the next level in the graduated licensing system is the newly licensed driver's license (Class 5N, where the "N" stands for newly licensed driver).

Before you can get your newly licensed driver's license, you will have to pass a road test (Driving Examination). This involves a waiting period: you usually need to have your learner's license for at least 6 full months before you can take the road test or to make an appointment for a road test. However, there are some exceptions:

  • (a) If you are a student enrolled in an approved Driver Education course, and your instructor says you are ready to take the road test, the waiting period is only 3 months; or
  • (b) If you take Driver Instruction from a certified Driving School, and the instructor says that you are ready to take the road test, the waiting period is only 3 months.

Be sure to check with your insurance provider before driving out of Nova Scotia with just your Class 7 Learner's License to make certain you will be properly covered and that you have the required proof of insurance to be used in other provinces. Get Canadian car insurance quotes here.


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