Seniors can prepare for doctor’s assessment
By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, January 13 2017
Seniors and their family members take note. In British Columbia, senior drivers will get a letter from the Superintendent of Motor vehicles, usually at age 80.
For various health reasons, this notice may arrive at an earlier age.
The letter directs seniors to make an appointment with a medical doctor, where their fitness-to-drive will be assessed.
My advice to seniors is as follows. Never go to the doctor for this assessment unprepared.
Before you go, get a driver’s abstract.
This report can be obtained online at icbc.com or at any ICBC office.
It is a driver’s record of crash claims and driving infractions as well as any suspensions issued over the past five years.
Most senior drivers will have a perfect abstract, no crashes, no traffic tickets and no suspensions.
Get a copy of your insurance, with evidence of a safe-driver discount, probably in the neighbourhood of 40 per cent.
Get your driving assessed by a professional and make sure the refresher drive includes a written report.
Ask for any other things you can do to get a certificate of completion for online courses offered.
Do some memory exercises, games, drills, and even practice on a computer.
A good site is lumosity.com.
Make an appointment with the doctor only after you have made the above preparations.
Show the doctor proof of your good driving record.
There may be some in-office memory tests conducted.
Practice remembering at least seven of 10 items on a list.
This test is often, but not always, administered by doctors or their staff.
If the doctor is satisfied that the senior has shown proof of safe driving, a test is unlikely.
Many seniors undergo this assessment without preparation and are subsequently required to take a driving evaluation, which could have been avoided with a small amount of preparation.
If the report from the doctor indicates a driving evaluation is required, there are two separate streams employed.
The ICBC road test is a single offering, which has the senior do a 45-minute drive with a government examiner.
The senior can use the car of their choice, the test is free of charge and there are at least three attempts, possibly more if requested, for the senior to prove driving prowess.
A brief review of traffic signs and a vision test will precede the road test.
This option is generally reserved for seniors with possible physical impairments, as a result of a stroke or other medical conditions.
The driving road test includes a stall park to begin and end the test.
Drivers will be asked to do several turns in and some lane changes, as well as park at the side of the road.
The merge to and from a highway is also part of this test.
If seniors do not wish to do the highway manoeuvre, they can decline and will, when successful, be issued a licence with a 60 km/h speed restriction.
The second stream is called driveABLE. Seniors are referred to this non-governmental contractor because of perceived cognitive impairment.
The senior undergoes an in-office cognitive assessment followed by a road test.
Candidates may not drive their own vehicle but rather that of the contractor, usually a compact model.
The results of the cognitive test and the road test are compared and collated.
A result is rendered, and the senior is given a pass or fail designation.
The initial assessments are funded by the Superintendent.
Subsequent tests, if an appeal is launched, are to be paid for by the candidate.
The name of the game is beware and prepare.