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New driving retests coming for seniors

February 19, 2018

By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, February 16th 2018

Seniors who require driving-test re-examination will be facing a new suite of tests as part of the Enhanced Road Assessment, which replaces the old DriveABLE examinations.

 

The Enhanced Road Assessment, known as ERA, is designed to assess drivers, identified by physicians, who might have cognitive, motor or sensory impairments that could adversely affect their ability to drive.
Road Safety B.C. will rely on ICBC to administer the program on behalf of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles, renamed Road Safety.
Assessments by DriveABLE, a private contracted company testing in-office and in-car cognition, and the present on-road driving test conducted by ICBC will be no longer be offered as of March 5.

Many drivers were upset at not being able to drive their own vehicles for the DriveABLE road assessment.
They had to wait for several days before receiving the results from their doctor, and the old ICBC practical driving test had few cognitive functions included.
This new ERA practical driving test is intended to include additional cognitive components and be very similar to the present onroad test, with a few notable exceptions.
The ERA appointment will be 75-90 minutes long.
It will include an eye test and a review of traffic signs as well as an in-car portion.

Here are some of the changes:
Drivers will have to react to multiple-step directions.
For instance, the examiner could ask the driver to turn right at a named street and then make two successive right
turns. This is a test of cognition as well as maintaining basic driving control. It is like finding one’s way in an unfamiliar area of the city.

The examiner might, upon request, repeat the instruction up to three times.
The examiner might ask the candidate to repeat the instructions to ensure there is no misunderstanding of the requested direction of travel.

The reverse-route task is also part of the on-road test.
After referencing a focal point, such as a mailbox or other obvious landmark, the examiner will request the driver turn around and return the same way to the landmark.

This may involve a U-turn, cul-desac or three-point turn.
Drivers will not only have to demonstrate knowledge of vehicle safety controls while parked prior to moving the vehicle at the beginning of the road test, but will also have to activate the wipers, headlights and temperature controls while driving.
The minimum number of driving manoeuvres includes 10 right and left turns, four stops, eight through intersections, six lane changes, two low-speed changes (school or play areas) and two parking manoeuvres (not parallel parking).

A highway drive is not a mandatory task but might be included depending on the availability in certain locations.
(Candidates could forgo this portion of the test in the past, if they agreed to have a speed restriction on their licences.
It is not clear if that option still exists.)

The examiner will explain the process and provide a narrative description of any errors made during the drive when debriefing the re-exam candidate.

The in-car format is as follows:
It will take about five minutes to do a pre-trip check of the vehicle controls in the parking lot.
There will be a short 20-minute drive, in a low-traffic area, which will involve adjusting safety controls and following multiple-step instructions.
A five-minute feedback session will follow. The examiners will reference any errors that may have occurred during this segment.
A further 20-minute on-road drive will include a reverse-route task and multiple-step-directions session.

This will be followed by a 35-minute debrief and time for staff members to complete the necessary assessment forms.
There has been no information forthcoming about an appeal process.

Road Safety B.C. is keen to receive any feedback concerning the new test content.

 

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