Driving school out of business

    ICBC acts to keep roads safe

    VANCOUVER, Nov. 1 /CNW/ - Southwest Driving Academy has surrendered its
driving school licence following a coordinated investigation by ICBC and the
RCMP into an alleged scheme that included allegations that fabricated driver
experience letters were being provided to students getting their class 1
commercial drivers licence.
    The scheme received public attention earlier this year when a search
warrant was served on the school. While the investigation into whether charges
may be laid is ongoing, ICBC took the steps to cancel the driving school's
licence as well as the owner's instructor's licence.
    "I am glad to see that ICBC is taking this matter very seriously," said
Solicitor General John Les. "The provincial government's priority is to ensure
that we have safe drivers with secure licences on BC roads."
    ICBC has also taken action against a number of drivers who used
fabricated driver experience letters to help obtain their commercial drivers
licence. Where there has been strong evidence that people may have used
fabricated letters ICBC has asked those people to provide further proof of
their driving experience with an original document issued by the licensing
authority where their driving experience was gained.
    In cases where drivers have not been able to provide sufficient evidence,
their class 1 driver licence has been identified as being invalid. So far 123
people have been sent letters asking them to provide further evidence of their
driving experience. Of those, 22 people have been identified as having a class
one driver licence that is invalid. This number may increase if others are not
able to provide further proof of their driving experience. The review of
driver experience letters included letters used by students of Southwest
Driving Academy and all other driving schools that provide class 1 training.
    "ICBC has a zero tolerance policy for this type of behaviour," said
Mark Withenshaw, ICBC Vice-President of Driver Services. "We actively work to
protect the integrity of the driver licensing system and have a comprehensive
plan in place to identify any potential fraud vulnerabilities in the driver
licencing process."
    To qualify for a class 1 drivers licence in BC, the driver must have
three years of regular class 5 driving experience, less than four penalty
point incidents in the previous two years, have no vehicle-related Criminal
code convictions in the previous three years and pass the Class 1 knowledge
and road test.
    ICBC has the ability to check individual driving records for drivers in
Canada and the US through electronic record exchange systems. For drivers
outside North America, ICBC requires the individual to provide written proof
of their driving experience from the licensing authority where there
experience was gained.
    ICBC has taken further steps to ensure the authenticity of driver
experience letters, including only accepting original documentation and
enhancing training for certified document fraud investigators.

For further information:

For further information: Doug Henderson, (604) 982-1332

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