AlÂberta is the only provÂince in CanÂada that alÂlows 14-year-olds to drive.
Back in 1992, 26,000 AlÂberÂtans ages 14 and 15 had a Class 7 liÂcence alÂlowing them to get beÂhind the wheel of a car as long as they were acÂcomÂpanÂied by a perÂson aged 18 or older with a drivÂerâ€™s liÂcence.
ShelÂley MilÂler, a lawÂyer with the govÂernÂment-apÂpointÂed AutoÂmobile InÂsurÂance Board, said she would like to see AlÂbertaâ€™s drivÂing age inÂcreased.
Statistics show moÂtor vehicle acÂciÂdents are the leadÂing cause of death in CanÂada for males beÂtween 15 and 24. GivÂing 14-year-olds the right to drive is equivaÂlent to putÂting weapons in their hands, she argued.
Her comÂments folÂlowed a court case where a judge slapped a 15-year-old with a 30-month jail term after hearÂing a horÂrifÂic stoÂry of how the teen had drivÂen through resiÂdenÂtial streets one night at speeds of up to 120 km-h, someÂtimes drivÂing on the wrong side of the road.
He had apÂpeared in court countÂless times beÂfore for drivÂing like a maÂniac. Each time he was slapped on the wrist after promÂisÂing to mend his ways.
In most provÂinces he wouldnâ€™t get near a car until his 16th birthÂday.
In 1989, AlÂberta had the seÂcond highest provÂinÂcial fatalÂity rate in CanÂada.
For every 1,000 licensed male drivÂers inÂvolved in casÂualÂty colÂliÂsions, 19 per cent or alÂmost one in every five were boys under 16. That figÂure inÂcreased to 20.3 per cent in 1990.
No one conÂtacted by the Journalâ€™s at the time spoke posiÂtiveÂly about AlÂberta alÂlows 14-year-olds to drive. Most beÂlieved the move dated to the days when farm famÂilies needed their kids to be able to drive in orÂder to get work done around the farm.
MilÂler said sheâ€™d exÂpect strong reÂsistÂance from rural AlÂberta to raisÂing the drivÂing age, but said it might be posÂsible to have some sort of â€œgraduÂatÂedâ€� licensÂing proÂgram.
The AlÂberta govÂernÂment introÂduced a graduÂatÂed drivÂer licensÂing proÂgram, with three stages, in 2003.
Such proÂgrams have been proven efÂfectÂive worldÂwide â€” deaths and inÂjurÂies due to moÂtor vehicle inÂciÂdents are conÂsistÂentÂly reÂduced wherÂevÂer these proÂgrams exist. HowÂever, the bigÂgest reÂducÂtions in road casÂualÂties tend to be found in places with tougher graduÂatÂed licensÂing sysÂtems than AlÂbertaâ€™s.
As of March 31, 2014, there were 8,767 Class 7 drivers.