A driver test mobile app developed by two Toronto pals has become one of the most popular and easy ways to study for licence exams.
Free to Android users and available for $1.99 through iTunes, the apps at DrivingTests101.com, already widely used around the globe by people keen to learn the rules of the road, have all the information contained in hard copy government-issued driving test manuals, which can set you back as much as $15.
“The information can be seen as both a complement and a replacement, but we also provide links to official handbooks on our website,” said Brian Holland, one of the app developers. “The app is just another tool to help you study for your driver’s license.”
A financial analyst by day, Holland and his friend Paul Cremona, an accountant, turned their hobby into a rapidly growing e-business. In just a little over a year, their app, which addresses 40,000 regional and vehicle-specific questions, has become a hit with driving students across Canada and the U.S., Australia, Britain and parts of Europe, the Caribbean and India.
In all, it covers 278 varied driving tests for all classes of licences in 11 countries.
The app takes into account the varying rules of the road, which often differ between countries, provinces and states. One memorable example is that motorists in Britain are required by law to stop when ordered to do so by shepherds tending their wandering flocks.
“At first we started with Ontario and slowly expanded across Canada and into the U.S. It covers each province’s and state’s driving laws for cars, motorcycles and trucks,” Holland said. “Now it’s the No. 1 downloaded driving test app in Canada, the U.S. and Australia on Android, and No. 2 in Canada at the Apple store.”
The notion of creating a driver test prep app occurred to him after he created an app to guide a user through a financial interview, which received a nod from the Wall Street Journal.
“I got the idea when my mom gave my twin 15-year-old cousins the driving handbook for Christmas,” said Holland.
He and Cremona, a friend from childhood who loves cars, brainstormed the project by researching Ontario drivers test data and developing their website in their spare time. They came up with the Ontario G1 test preparation app the week before Holland’s twin cousins turned 16.
“It helped them pass the test,” he said. “The app quickly reached the top 10 in education on iPhone. We broke even in a month, and we have since expanded.
“It’s kind of nice to create something that’s free to students and still be able to make some money from it. I wish I had this when I was 16.”
The pair have set their sights on producing a licence test preparation app for learners in China, which has the world’s fastest growing market for new drivers.
The online-service website appannie.com, which tracks the popularity of apps worldwide, currently ranks DrivingTests101.com as the No. 1 driving test app in Canada and the No. 3 paid education app in the country.