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A Q&A on B.C.’s new seniors road test

April 7, 2018

By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, April 6th 2018

The Enhanced Road Assessment (known as the ERA) for drivers showing signs of cognitive or physical impairment has spawned a bevy of questions.
Here are some answers to recently received correspondence.
Are there any tricks on the test?

There are no tricks.

The test is relatively straightforward.
Examiners will take the time to explain all aspects prior to commencing any practical sessions.
The vision test is simple, no study required!

There is a review of road signs.

It is presented as a reminder, with no pass-fail component.
The examiner will ask the candidate
to find their vehicle in a relatively small parking lot outside the ICBC testing office.
Getting lost in a parking lot is not a fail.

It is embarrassing.
(It happened to me in Montreal years ago.)

Seniors no longer must drive a vehicle supplied by the testers, as in the DriveABLE process that recently ended.
The client must provide a vehicle of their choice.
The test is conducted at ICBC, Service B.C. or at contracted facilities throughout rural B.C.

Are supportive passengers permitted in the back seat during the ERA?

No other person is allowed in the vehicle during the road test.
This includes translators.

Why has the B.C. Automobile Association been so silent about this process and its effect on their senior members?
I have no idea of their involvement or non-involvement at this testing stage.
To whom can we appeal the result?

There has been a general criticism of ICBC in the correspondence I received.
It is misguided — ICBC is not the adjudicator.
This program is a Road Safety initiative.

ICBC is an agent of delivery.
The Superintendent of Motor Vehicles (Road Safety) is the final decision maker.
Any correspondence concerning an appeal should be directed to them.

Am I allowed to use the back-up camera when reversing on the road test?
Yes, it is permitted.
The vehicle must be stopped while doing so.

Do I have to parallel park?
No such request will be made.

Instead, there might be a chance to back out of a parking space.
The test will end as it began.
If the vehicle was backed in to begin, it will end the same way.
My advice to most seniors is to start the test nose in, or in a drive-through space.

Will my vehicle be inspected?
The examiner will ask all drivers at the beginning of the test to demonstrate the use of the headlights, wipers, windows, horn, electric and hand signals as well as brake light illumination.
This is to insure the vehicle is in good working order and the driver has a basic knowledge of the controls before commencing the test.
The examiner will be mindful of scrapes, scratches, dents and the general condition of the vehicle.
It is not a good idea to take a vehicle for the road test that looks like it was the loser in a recently held demolition derby.

What are the most common reasons for failure on the road test?
Speeding in school and playground areas is a no-no.
Ten per cent over the limit is the threshold for such a failure in these zones.
The repeated absence of a shoulder check before a lateral move is another common failure mistake.
Stopping completely is mandatory at all stop signs and red lights.
Proper spacing, particularly when turning left at an intersection
when oncoming traffic is looming, is mandatory. Do I have to drive on the highway?
Some test routes require it, and others do not.

This double standard is not only puzzling but also inconsistent with a standard test model.
The road test format one receives should not be a “crap shoot” or “luck of the draw,” but rather a certainty.

Keep the questions coming, I’ll try to answer all of them.

 

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