Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Full Speed Ahead: Older Drivers Staying On the Road Longer, Thanks To Fairer Tests

No matter what your age, there are few symbols of personal freedom as meaningful as driving a car. An automobile is not just what we rely on to get to work or the grocery store, it also bolsters our independence. The need to maintain self-reliance becomes even more pronounced as we age. For mature drivers, therefore, being able to drive can become an integral part of their independence, sociability and vitality.

Despite the importance of driving, however, older Canadians have sometimes faced an uphill battle when it comes to protecting their right to drive. In provinces like Ontario and BC, drivers over the age of 80 must undergo specialized tests to successfully renew their driver’s license.

In Alberta and Quebec, as of the age of 75, drivers seeking to renew their licence must submit medical reports. To make matters worse, cognition testing may involve computer-based exams that some drivers may find intimidating. Furthermore, often those who failed a written exam would be required to take a road test in an unfamiliar vehicle, rather than in their own car.

With no unilateral testing standards and medical requirements, it’s no wonder that critics often ask whether its age discrimination rather than hard facts that dictate licence renewal policies for aging drivers.

Luckily, there are some exciting innovations that aim to make driver testing more accurate and equitable. In March 2018, B.C. introduced its Enhanced Road Assessment program. Mandatory computer cognitive testing was replaced with a Driver Medical Examination Report and older drivers will only undergo further scrutiny if a medical condition or accident report suggest their driving abilities may be impaired. Drivers are also permitted to take the road test in their own vehicle.

Another new approach to mature driver testing set to be released this year is Candrive. Developed by a research group led by Dr. Shawn Marshall, this test would be administered by healthcare professionals when a patient has concerns about his or her driving ability. Candrive assesses a driver’s risk category by measuring a variety of elements that predict how someone will respond in numerous driving situations (like icy conditions, for example). The decision to continue driving is then up to the individual in consultation with their doctor.

These new kinds of tests show promise that licence testing for older drivers will be more fair and relevant and ensure people can retain their independence for as long as possible.

The most recent Stats Canada data from 2009 reports that 3.25 million people aged 65 and over had a driver’s licence. Of that number, about 200,000 were aged 85 and over.

A survey conducted by State Farm in Canada said that 55 percent of respondents would keep driving past 80 years of age. Drivers are reluctant to give up their licence, according to 75 percent of respondents.

Clearly, the road less travelled will be filled with mature drivers for many years to come, thanks to fairer testing now being introduced.

Must reads

Canada, We Need To Talk About COVID-19, Pandemics, Technology And The Way Forward

The COVID-19 pandemic has rightly sparked a serious and long-overdue national conversation about long-term care. All of us should be deeply troubled...

Can The Food You Eat Influence Your Mood?

We all have good days and bad days, but is there a connection between how you feel and the foods you consume?...

Advancing Technology-Based Solutions To Support Older Adults And Their Caregivers

AGE-WELL NCE Inc. (Aging Gracefully across Environments using Technology to Support Wellness, Engagement and Long Life) is pleased to announce funding for 22...

Try These Summer Smoothie Recipes With Nutritious Wild Blueberries

Sticking to New Year’s resolutions may be easier with these smoothie recipes from the Wild Blueberry Association of North America. To inspire a vibrant and healthy...

The Latest from YouAreUNLTD

Canada, We Need To Talk About COVID-19, Pandemics, Technology And The Way Forward

The COVID-19 pandemic has rightly sparked a serious and long-overdue national conversation about long-term care. All of us should be deeply troubled...

Can The Food You Eat Influence Your Mood?

We all have good days and bad days, but is there a connection between how you feel and the foods you consume?...

Advancing Technology-Based Solutions To Support Older Adults And Their Caregivers

AGE-WELL NCE Inc. (Aging Gracefully across Environments using Technology to Support Wellness, Engagement and Long Life) is pleased to announce funding for 22...

Try These Summer Smoothie Recipes With Nutritious Wild Blueberries

Sticking to New Year’s resolutions may be easier with these smoothie recipes from the Wild Blueberry Association of North America. To inspire a vibrant and healthy...

Yes, You Can Live To 100 And Beyond, Say Researchers

I remember when Alida Desroches, the Franco-Ontarian grandmother of my sister-in-law, Darlene, wished me a happy birthday when I was in my 40s. “Live...