Tim Schewe

Drivesmart column: Road safety story that tops them all

This gentleman had problems with falling asleep while driving.

By Tim Schewe

Gather a group of traffic enforcement officers for coffee and doughnuts at Tim Hortons and we’ll sit and swap stories about what we have seen and shake our heads in amazement. Sometimes it’s an attempt to avoid PTSD and others it’s because we genuinely can’t believe that someone would behave this way. I think I might have heard one that will be almost impossible to top this past weekend.

The constable I was speaking to told me about an investigation that he had conducted with regard to an older male and his driving ability. This gentleman had problems with falling asleep while driving. Knowing this, he always took his wife along so that when he fell asleep, she could wake him up again. What is really interesting is that this lady is blind. The first notice that she had of her husband falling asleep was the change in vibration as the tires left the pavement.

Imagine the pitfalls in this system! This driver is trapped in our driving oriented society. His wife can’t drive, and if he were to lose his licence, they are both left living in a rural area with no easy access to transportation to fill their daily needs. In a way, he sees himself as forced to struggle to maintain his chosen lifestyle.

His determination to continue to drive rather than giving up his licence on his own has placed everyone on the road at significant risk. His family knew about the situation, but was caught in the same difficulty that many face when their parents are no longer able to drive safely. Do they do something, does the family doctor take responsibility, or do we wait for the police to find out and take action?

RoadSafetyBC, headed by the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles, is responsible for taking action when a case like this is brought to their attention. Anyone can make an unsolicited driver fitness report and the web site states that “Unsolicited reports expressing concerns regarding a driver’s safety on the road are given high priority by RoadSafetyBC.”

Driver fitness in this case is a health condition that prevents a driver from driving properly. Drivers who are healthy but regularly choose to drive in a manner that puts themselves and other road users at risk are not of any interest in terms of an unsolicited driver fitness report. If you try to submit one you will be directed to make your report to the police. End of discussion.

Fitness reports must be submitted in writing and contain as much information that you can give to properly identify the driver and the difficulties that they are suffering from.

You must also identify yourself and provide contact information because all anonymous reports will be refused.

Following a review of the report and the driver’s current driving record, RoadSafetyBC’s response can consist of a medical examination directive, an Enhanced Road Assessment, or licence cancellation depending on what the problem is and whether it can be corrected or not.

If you make a report, unless you know the driver, you will not find out what action, if any, was taken. Provincial privacy legislation prevents RoadSafetyBC from sharing this information with anyone but the driver or a legal designate.

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

Column

Just Posted

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley MLA Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

BC Green Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

The city-owned lot at 361 St. Julien St., which has been home to a temporary homeless site for more than a year, will be sold and plans are to build a three-storey mixed-use development there, Peter de Verteuil, Duncan CAO explained at a recent council meeting. (File photo)
New development planned for homeless site in Duncan

Lot on St. Julien Street would see three-storey building

Historian and longtime Citizen columnist T.W. Paterson photographs the historical wreckage of a plane on Mount Benson. Paterson recently won an award from the British Columbia Historical Foundation. (Submitted)
Cowichan’s Tom W. Paterson wins award for historical writing

British Columbia Historical Federation hands Recognition Award to local writer

This electric school bus is the newest addition to the Cowichan Valley School District’s fleet. (Submitted)
Editorial: New electric school bus good place to start

Changing public transit like buses to electric really is important.

CVRD to increase enforcement after audits reveal that curb-side recycling contamination in the district is well above acceptable limits. (File photo)
CVRD reports contamination in recyclables well above acceptable levels

Increased enforcement planned starting this summer

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the two patients, a man and a woman likely acquired the virus in the hospital

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth and Attorney General David Eby attend opening of the first government-run B.C. Cannabis Store, Kamloops, Oct. 19, 2018. (B.C. government)
B.C. government to allow home cannabis delivery starting July 15

Added convenience expected to persuade buyers to ‘go legal’

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

BC Ferries’ newest Island Class vessel is experiencing an issue with one of its thrusters off the Algerian coast. Photo courtesy patbaywebcam.com.
BC Ferries newest vessel having mechanical issues in Mediterranean

Island 4 will be repaired in Spain before crossing Atlantic

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum speaks at a press conference in August 2019 about provincial government approval of the city’s change to a municipal force, joined by councillors (from left) Mandeep Nagra, Allison Patton and Doug Elford. Members of the National Police Federation claim there is still no transition plan in place although Surrey RCMP’s contract with the city is due to end March 31.(File photo)
Elections BC approves petition application for referendum on Surrey policing transition

Application was filed under Recall and Initiative Act by the widow of a Surrey murder victim

There were 255 babies born in Victoria in May 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)
Pandemic baby boom makes for a busier Vancouver Island Father’s Day

Victoria’s 255 babies born in May up almost 10 per cent over last year

Most Read