Tim Schewe

Drivesmart column: Do you know someone who should not be driving?

We are currently living about 10 years longer than our ability to drive safely.

By Tim Schewe

I often hear comments that a friend or family member should not be driving. This person is usually either an older driver or a person suffering from health issues known to the person making the comment. These people also express the wish that someone would do something about it.

According to RoadSafetyBC, the provincial agency responsible for driver fitness, we are currently living about 10 years longer than our ability to drive safely. That said, approximately 180,000 medical examinations were required in 2019. Of that number, only about 66,000 were seniors, so safe driving ability can be affected at any age.

Difficult as it may be, close friends and family members are often the best ones to do something about an unsafe driver. RoadSafetyBC will take reports from anyone with direct knowledge of the problem and who is willing to identify themselves so that the report can be properly verified. A letter or fax is the appropriate report and the address or fax number is available on RoadSafetyBC’s web site.

Without reports such as this it can be difficult to identify drivers who for whatever reason are no longer capable. Yes, the law does require that a doctor identify a patient that is no longer capable, but only if the doctor cautions the patient to stop driving and the patient does not do so.

Mandatory medical driver exams don’t occur until age 80 unless a problem has been identified. The criteria for these exams are set out in the CCMTA’s Medical Standards with BC Specific Guidelines.

Worried about what will happen if you make a report? I’m sure that it would be a difficult decision for anyone to turn in a friend or family member. I suppose it comes down to asking yourself if you can live with that, or can you live with knowing that the incapable driver has hurt themselves or others because you didn’t do something.

This decision may not be one that you can rely on “the system” to make for you.

On the other hand, one of my neighbours who was in her 80s met the situation head on. Her daughter had started to pressure her to stop driving so she made an appointment with a driving school and had the instructor assess her skills. The instructor was able to assure them both that it was safe for her to continue driving.

If you are on a budget, I see that the class 5 and 6 road tests are shown to be free to those aged 65 or older on ICBC’s web site. You may be able to book a road test to assess your skills with them.

One day we may see a Graduated Delicensing Program for those drivers whose abilities are no longer up to standard. Currently there are restrictions that may be placed on a driver’s licence that limit privileges. Examples of this may include speed limits, daylight hours only.

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement. To comment or learn more, please visit DriveSmartBC.ca

Column

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 80+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in fatal Chemainus hit-and-run

Investigation expected to be lengthy and involved

The Cowichan Women Against Violence Society is planning on opening a child and youth advocacy centre. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Child and youth advocacy centre eyed for Cowichan

Cowichan Women Against Violence Society hopes to open centre later this year

CVRD to apply for a grant to improve a 4.85-kilometre section of the Cowichan Valley Trail near Shawnigan Lake. (File photo)
CVRD looks to improve section of Cowichan Valley Trail

District applies for $250,000 grant to widen, upgrade 4.8-kilometre section in Shawnigan Lake

Cowichan Valley writer Jennifer Manuel will headlining YakFest on March 1. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Cowichan Valley writer to headline next YakFest on March 1

YakFest is a B.C.-based monthly women’s event held online via Zoom

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

Most Read