Traditionally, students attending driving school were required to sit in physical classrooms for the theory portion of driver’s ed. Today, though, that part of the curriculum can legally be taught online in most Canadian provinces. In Ontario, for example, driving schools have been allowed to offer online course delivery since 2013, though very few driving schools did so before the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, online delivery of the in-class portion of driver’s ed is ubiquitous.
What hasn’t changed? Most driving schools remain super-traditional when it comes to scheduling in-car lessons. Whether you’re learning from a large national chain or a small fly-by-night operation, scheduling is still done manually—using phones, texts, and pen and paper. This can lead to last-minute cancellations, lesson delays and other hassles for students and instructors alike.
In addition, students usually know nothing about their instructors before they get in the car. Canadians are used to reading profiles and reviews for other types of services before they buy, but driving schools typically just provide an instructor’s phone number and call it a day. Given that you’ll be spending over 10 hours in the car with this person, you probably want to find someone who’s a good fit before you get in the vehicle.
One Canadian startup is trying to change these processes. Kruzee is a digital-first driving school that uses technology to streamline the driver’s ed experience. Students can read reviews of driving instructors and schedule in-car lessons with them online, rather than have one assigned randomly. For the theory portion of driver’s ed, Kruzee students can complete a self-paced course online, without having to go to a physical classroom. The school’s courses are certified by Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation, so students qualify for insurance savings and accelerated test booking. Kruzee students also save $400 on their first vehicle if they purchase it from Clutch, further helping to offset the cost of driving school. (Kruzee is currently available in Ontario, and it plans to expand to other provinces.)
3. New drivers are learning more skills
Driving in 2023 looks quite different than it did in the past. Partially self-driving cars (like Teslas in autopilot mode), driver assistance systems (like Ford’s handless parking) and electric vehicles are now common on Canadian roads. At the same time, impaired driving is no longer limited to alcohol—now that cannabis is legal, that’s a concern for drivers, too. Canadians must also learn about the many ways that smartphones and smartwatches can distract drivers.
When selecting a driver’s education program, you’ll want to choose one that prepares you or your child for today’s driving challenges. Not all driving schools have updated their curriculum accordingly. When comparing schools, be sure to ask them whether the topics above are included in their lessons.
4. Driving schools and instructors have to be licensed, and curriculum standards are stricter
In the past, opening a driving school or becoming a driving instructor didn’t require too much in the way of licensing. A driving school could simply rent an office and put a rooftop sign on their vehicles and they’d be open for business. Today, though, there are rules to follow.
In order to operate in most Canadian provinces, driving schools and instructors must have a series of licenses. The licensing system for driving schools is designed to increase the quality of education students receive and make Canadian roads safer.