Test all drivers regularly, readers say
By Steve Wallace
Times Colonist, February 23rd 2018
Several questions came my way after last week’s column concerning the new driving-test requirements for seniors.
Here are some answers.
Jill said her friend had gone to her doctor to be assessed for physical and cognitive fitness.
A subsequent practical driving test was successfully completed and now it appears she will have to do this every two years.
Is this common practice?
Yes, in most cases there will be a necessity to see the doctor every two years, which might, but not always, result in a mandatory on-road assessment.
It will depend on the doctor’s report to Road Safety B.C.
For some physical conditions, such as Parkinson’s, there will be a requirement to take an on-road driving test every year.
Lesley asked whether the driving test for everyone else, other than seniors, involves multiple-directional instructions and returning from whence one came.
No other road test that I have seen demands this component.
It is purely a cognitive part of the senior road test.
A reader asked about the restricted driving licence.
In the past, seniors had the option of excluding the highway drive from the test in return for voluntarily accepting a speed restriction of 60 km/h.
The on-road test was conducted at or below this speed in municipal areas.
Information I received last week from the point person concerning the test criteria suggests this option will no longer be available.
Laurence thinks every driver should be tested in the same way seniors are expected to perform.
He makes the point that seniors self regulate — many do not drive at night and avoid rush hour, crowded areas and unfamiliar territory.
He thinks it is a big hurdle for people who are in their 80s to suddenly be tested.
Perhaps driver testing at regular intervals would be a better option.
Tony echoed comments from others concerning the need to test drivers at regular intervals.
He agrees with the need to test seniors.
After many years of driving, people often develop bad habits and are not aware of rule changes that have been introduced over the decades.
There is some good news.
Test marking will be much less draconian.
There will be more emphasis on allowing for feedback after the initial 10 to 15 minutes in a residential area.
For instance, the examiner can suggest the person taking the test do more shoulder checks and stop completely at stop signs.
Examiners will be much more proactive in suggesting actions that would be beneficial for the rest of the on-road portion of the test.
Many seniors wanted to know if parallel parking is part of the test. You can breathe easy — it is not included.
Road Safety B.C. is not interested in testing healthy seniors with good driving records.
They will be relying on the medical profession to identify those seniors who should be tested.
It is imperative for seniors to show up at the doctor’s office armed with information that might result in a road test being deemed unnecessary.
Bring your driver abstract, your record of infractions for the last five years.
Bring a copy of your insurance, which will show a safe driver discount.
Get a letter from an accredited driving-school professional confirming your safe and skillful driving habits.
Good senior drivers should be able to avoid the road test by providing such information to their doctors.
When seniors show up for the dreaded appointment without any supporting information, a test is very likely to follow.