B.C. school closure leads to hundreds of invalid licenses

SURREY, B.C. — The closure of a B.C. driving school last year has left more than 150 truckers without valid licenses.

Southwest Driving Academy in Surrey, B.C. was shut down last year as a result of a joint investigation by the Insurance Corporation of B.C. and the RCMP. During the investigation, an undercover officer was allegedly coached on how to obtain documents that would help him get a commercial license.

The school’s owner, Kamal Singh, is facing criminal charges for forgery and is scheduled to appear in Surrey Provincial Court this month.

As a result, the licenses of 154 truck drivers have been declared invalid after a review of their documents.

Letters have been sent to the drivers informing them of the change in their license status, but ICBC spokesman Doug Henderson told the Globe and Mail he was unable to say whether the drivers are still on the road.

Of the 1,000 letters reviewed, 227 drivers were asked to provide more information and subsequently 154 have been declared invalid.

To obtain a Class 1 license in B.C., a student must have three years of passenger driving experience and pass a commercial driving test. Allegedly in this case, people were using fake documents from their countries of origin to prove they had held a driver’s license for three years.

Until last year, proof could be provided in copies of documents, but the ICBC has since changed its policies to help reduce the number of fake documents being used.

ICBC has also changed its policies in an attempt to reduce the use of fake documents, he said.

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