B.C.’s road rules: Dumb and Dumber
By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, March 31 2017
About a decade ago, all driving instructors were required to themselves be professional drivers, possessing a Class 4 B.C. driver’s licence.
The requirement was dropped and no longer applies.
The driving-instructor profession has been dumbed-down by purposeful actions of provincial officials.
Driving instructors now need only possess a regular licence to teach learners of all ages.
The provincial authorities are planning to do the same with the taxi industry.
They will drop the requirement for a Class 4 licence.
It has more to do with the impending entry of Uber into the marketplace.
There will supposedly be a level playing field, since the new-to-the-scene Uber chauffeurs will not have to be professionally licensed, either.
As an addition, the taxi industry will be given $3.5 million to equip their vehicles with sensors, which will provide technology for non-driver braking.
Strange: Isn’t that what professional drivers are supposed to be trained to do?
Seniors are now responsible for the entire medical appointment fee when a visit with a doctor is deemed mandatory by the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles.
In the past, a portion of the fee was paid by the licensing authority.
This is no longer the case. At age 80, most drivers receive a notice to attend at a doctor’s office for a physical and cognitive examination.
The cost of such an appointment is the responsibility of the senior.
The cost of such a mandatory exam is governed by a fee schedule, but most often averages between $100 and $200.
This amount is a hardship for some seniors.
This obvious age discrimination is very likely to become a charter challenge, but that is another topic altogether.
If the provincial authority demands a medical examination, whether physical or cognitive, the authority should be prepared to pay for it.
After all, an ICBC road test re-exam is free of charge for seniors.
The initial DriveABLE test, which is an alternate dual cognitive and road test conducted by a private contractor, is also free to seniors, but not any subsequent test, usually upon appeal, which will be about $200.
Most seniors today are law-abiding children of the Great Depression and the Second World War.
They are very respectful and relatively obedient to authority.
They are not militant, as a rule.
Despite the fact they are not being treated fairly by the application of the hodgepodge of rules and fiscal inconsistency as it relates to the senior driving retesting, they soldier on.
One day, grey power will persist and thousands of seniors will be on the steps of the provincial legislature, standing up for themselves.
There have been a great number of seniors, with perfect driving records, required to take a practical driving test.
It is stressful for them.
They lose sleep and worry.
The time to get through the process can take months, not weeks.
When the ICBC driving test does finally take place, it is a scheduled 90-minute appointment ordeal, which includes an eye test and a review of traffic signs.
If it is a DriveABLE test, it involves two appointments.
The first is with a cognitive therapist and the other in a vehicle the senior does not own.
Some of these road tests are conducted in a town other than where the senior lives, in some cases, 100 kilometres away.
It is dumb to reduce Class 4 requirements. It is dumber to test drivers with perfect records.
The dumbest move of all is an indefensible fee structure for seniors’ testing.