Yearly Archives: 2017

2010 ICBC Report
Kaniz Dhirani knows how to take a challenge and turn it into an opportunity. She started Ladybug Driving School six years ago after she couldn’t find a female driving instructor for her daughter. The school specializes in teaching women how to drive defensively in a safe environment, and focuses on those who lack confidence due to ethnic backgrounds, language barriers or challenging circumstances.

“We have a lot of students who have international licences, and need direction on how to change their licence to a BC licence. ICBC has given us the knowledge to do that. A lot of our students are also multicultural and ICBC has translated the Road Sense for Drivers book into several different languages, which is very beneficial for our students,” says Kaniz.

Driver training schools provide a valuable road safety education service to the public in BC. There are over 500 licensed private driver training businesses in BC and they employ over 2,000 qualified driver training instructors.

ICBC and the driver training industry hold a common vested interest in providing positive customer experiences and promoting road safety education. This mutual interest in safety and service to customers forms the foundation of our business relationship.

Our Driver Licensing division works with members of the industry to establish driver education and testing standards that focus on the knowledge, skills and attitudes essential to licensing safe drivers. It’s supported by a range of interactions, which range from casual information sharing conversations to formal collaboration on major projects.

This article is featured in the ICBC 2010 Annual Report. It can be found on page 68.

By Michael McQuillan, NewsLeader

August 2, 2007

If you’re going to teach people to drive in a responsible way it makes sense they have a complete education, says Kaniz Dhirani, owner of Ladybug Driving School. So, she asks, why doesn’t provincially prescribed driver education include more awareness of impaired drivers?

Rather than dwell on this question, Dhirani is filling in this education gap by providing a seminar to her students on the dangers of impaired driving. She’s hoping other driving schools will follow her lead and the provincial government will eventually do the same.

“We as educators have a responsibility to educate, inform and guide young drivers to be safe, as well as other people on the road. We are a bridge between them being learners and getting their license,” said Dhirani. “The statistics regarding drinking and driving and drugs and driving are alarming and it somehow has to be dealt with. I believe that students don’t get enough information to make them aware of the consequences.”

Working with MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and the New Westminster Police Service, Dhirani organized her first seminar last week for students attending Ladybug Driving School. While it’s not required that students learn about things such as the hazards of impaired driving, she plans to make it a mandatory part of her instruction.

All the information she’s read about impaired driving makes her believe it’s an area that has to be taught. And she also notes that impaired driving doesn’t just involve the use of alcohol and drugs. It can also include some medications and even the emotional state of the driver.

“As an educator, I know the stats, I know what is really imperative for them to learn – it’s not only driving straight, it’s driving safely. MADD has done incredible research and has got enormous resources that I found would help my students,” she said.

Her first seminar also included a member of the New Westminster Police who spoke on the penalties for those convicted of impaired driving.

The feedback from the seminar was positive and made Dhirani realize she was on the right track.

“I wish the government of B.C. would make it mandatory that driving schools take this initiative to inform their students about this. We spend a lot of time with our students and if we just informed them a little bit – maybe show them a video – we could reach a lot of people,” she said.

“We know that people who are serious about being safe will want to be part of this program.”

Dhirani came up with the idea to include impaired driving as part of her education after doing some research. Once she became aware, she was struck by the fact that it’s not mandatory. In order to change that she thinks driving schools should take the first step and the provincial government will follow suit.

“I’ve been reading a lot of research on driving, on driving instruction. Being in the position we’re in, we can really reach a lot of people and make a difference,” said Dhirani. “It will take some time but if it is taken seriously, we will be able to get where we want to with this and reach a lot of people.”

“I would love other driving schools to follow suit, because what is the goal here? The goal is to make sure those students, especially when they’re young. If we can get them to just watch a video clip of what speed does or drinking and driving does, something will click there with the students and we’ve done our part.”

By Michael McQuillan

March 5, 2005

Like many entrepreneurs, Kaniz Dhirani came up with the idea for a business venture when she found a need that was not being met. It was when she tried to find a driving school with a female instructor for her 17-year-old daughter that she saw the makings of a business.

Dhirani was surprised when she couldn’t find any female instructors. Almost all of them are male.

Intrigued by this, Dhirani did some more research. In B.C. just eight per cent of driving instructors are female, yet more than 50 per cent of the clientele are women. In addition, there were few driving schools serving the broad range of customers where English is a second language.

Dhirani believes there is an untapped niche demand in driving instruction and that’s why she’s established Ladybug Driving School. Women, she said, would prefer to be instructed by women. Learning to drive can be a nerve-wracking episode but could be less so with a female instructor.

Dhirani, who speaks six languages including Hindi and Swahili, feels ethnic women will also take advantage of the school. “When you have a language barrier, you also have a fear,” she said. “It’s difficult to learn when you have that kind of fear.”

Dhirani figures some of her potential clients will be like her daughter. Finding a female instructor is vital because of her Muslim faith. “There are many other cultures where it is important,” said Dhirani.

The single mother officially launches her business this Wednesday, which happens to be International Women’s Day. She developed the idea while enrolled in the Douglas College Self-Employment Program. While not finished the course, she feels equipped to get her new business up and running. Dhirani has been an entrepreneur since her late teens when she began helping out her father.

She’ll start the business with just one brand new car, but sees the need to expand in the near future with more cars and more instructors. Her preference is to hire instructors with language skills, Mandarin and Cantonese would be important.

As for Dhirani’s daughter, she never did find the female instructor she needed. So after she earned her driver instructor license, her daughter became her first pupil.

For more information on Ladybug Driving School, go to www.ladybugdrivingschool.com.