Driving issues for voters to consider
By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, April 28th 2017
In light of the looming B.C. election, here are a few driving-related issues that should be raised with all candidates.
Seniors are ordered at age 80 to report to the doctor for both a physical and cognitive screening test.
The cost varies from about $60 to $150.
Many have unblemished driving records and no blamable crashes or traffic tickets.
If a government agency demands a test of this kind, that same agency should foot the cost of the medical appointment, as well as any other costs associated with the mandatory, and often unnecessary, test demand.
The whole situation smacks of age discrimination and would likely not withstand a charter challenge.
The threat of a driving disqualification is very stressful.
Seniors should be treated like any other group.
Their past performance should be the best indication of their future performance.
Teens in B.C. are also subjected to unprecedented scrutiny in the acquisition of a driving licence.
They must display an “N” for a two-year period, or at least 18 months if they attend a special course authorized by ICBC.
The problem with the N phase is not the phase itself, but the display of the N. It is not permanently attached and can be removed by any passerby without the knowledge of the driver.
Yet the fine for not displaying the N is $109. (There are no longer penalty points issued for this offence.)
This legislation has been in effect in B.C. for about 20 years, and no other jurisdiction in North America has followed suit.
Identifying learners with the “L” designation makes sense. It helps others recognize those who must be accompanied by a licensed driver over 25 years of age while in the initial learning phase.
Identifying N drivers has an unintended consequence. Young women, usually teens, are easily identified while driving alone at night.
The N display might compromise their safety.
It is long past time to end the display of the N, but retain the phase as a useful probationary period.
A driver must pass a second road test in order to no longer display the N. So, in another unprecedented policy, a driver can remain in the N phase for a lifetime.
In Ontario, the N is not displayed and the phase ends in five years, after which drivers must return to the L phase if they have not taken the second-level test.
Taxi drivers will no longer have to be Class 4 professional drivers if proposed legislation governing the industry proceeds.
With the impending entry of Uber into the competitive environment, the Class 4 professional designation will no longer be the law for both groups.
Consumers will be the losers.
There is no logical reason to drop the requirement for a professional driving licence for those who transport the most precious cargo, namely us!
Why encumber seniors and teens, and at the same time propose to relax the regulations governing taxi and Uber drivers? Will tourists be aware of this proposed change?
What are the liability concerns?
Would a government consider the same policy for our transit drivers?
The provincial election is an opportune time to pose relevant questions concerning the unfair treatment of seniors, new drivers and the transportation of the public by supposed professional drivers.