RoadSafetyBC may require a driver to complete a road test re-examination called an Enhanced Road Assessment. (BlackPress Media files)

Driving safely in your senior years

Many mature Maple Ridge - Pitt Meadows drivers remain competent behind the wheel

Age alone is not a good predictor of driving safety, but as we age, changes can affect our ability to function safely as a driver.

Reaction time slows, and some mature drivers can experience a reduction in vision, hearing, or mobility.

BCCA Traffic Safety Foundation says drivers make 15 critical decisions each kilometre they drive.

As we age, reaction time slows down, and those critical decisions can become slightly more difficult to make

There are 2.9 million drivers 63 years old or older in Canada – with that numbers set to increase substantially in the next ten years, according to BCAA.

As part of the process of determining a person’s medical fitness to drive, RoadSafetyBC may require a driver to complete a road test re-examination called an Enhanced Road Assessment (ERA).

Caroline McAndrews of the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, said the test – which replaced the DriveABLE program, is a fair, accessible, and effective alternative to previous assessments used by RoadSafetyBC.

There is no fee charged for the assessment.

According to the Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC), the most common reasons why a driver might be asked to do a road test re-examination is:

  • A doctor reports a medical condition that may affect their fitness or ability to drive safely.
  • Results of a previous on-road assessment suggest a follow-up is necessary.
  • A collision report, police report, or other report indicates hey may be unable to or unsure how to handle a common driving situation.

READ MORE: Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows caregivers need care too

In 2018, ICBC, changed the requirements for the re-test, no longer requiring people to take a computer exam.

However, ICBC has increased the length of time and difficulty of the road test, using cognitive testing along the way.

Another change to the driving requirements is at age 80, and every two years thereafter, you will need a driver’s medical examination report completed by your physician, as required by the provincial superintendent of motor vehicles. Unfortunately, doctors usually charge a fee for these reports.

Sometimes doctors will recommend you take the road test re-exam (ERA).

Road test re-exam

If you’ve received a letter to compete an Enhanced Road Assessment, here is what you need to know:

The ERA appointment will take approximately 90 minutes. It will consist of a pre-trip vehicle orientation, a 45-minute, on-road drive with a feedback component halfway through, and a post-trip review. The assessment is conducted in a passenger vehicle provided by the driver. If you don’t comply with the ERA, your existing driver’s licence will be cancelled and no longer valid.

Tips for driver to stay sharp

The rules of the road are constantly changing, so it’s good to pick up ICBC’s Learn to Drive Smart booklet. You might also want to consider taking a refresher course for experienced driver.

ICBC offers information sessions for mature drivers. They provide tops and information mature drivers need to stay safe on the road.

Make sure your vehicle is in good condition.

Be vigilant about vision and hearing tests.

As we age, seeing at night becomes more difficult, so many seniors will opt not to drive once it is dark outside.

Retiring your driver’s licence

If you feel that your days behind the steering wheel are over, you can choose to retire from driving instead of taking the ERA. You can exchange your licence for a free British Columbia Identification Card (BCID). This can be done at any ICBC driver licensing office.

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