Computer testing won’t be the sole factor when deciding if seniors can continue to drive.
Changes are being made to the provincial DriveABLE program, which has used a computer assessment when considering whether a motorist over the age of 80 should keep their driver’s license.
“One of the concerns is people have a fear of computers,” said Eric Foster, Vernon-Monashee MLA, adding the anxiety has led to some poor test results even though an individual’s knowledge of driving was high.
“Now, if you don’t pass the cognitive test, everyone will have an opportunity to take a driver’s test.”
After speaking to an expert in geriatric issues, Foster is confident the failure rate for the computerized test will go down when participants know a driver’s test provides them with a back-up.
Foster says there is a need to ensure the safety of everyone on the road, but he understands driving provides seniors with independence and mobility.
“We want to make sure people feel they are being treated fairly.”
There are about 84,000 B.C. motorists over the age of 80, with 1,500 referred to the DriveABLE assessment by physicians concerned about cognitive issues.
Foster says his office has only received two complaints about the DriveABLE program.
“It hasn’t been a big issue here but it has been a big issue in other more rural areas,” he said.
The government is changing the delivery model by expanding it regionally and providing additional mobile services for rural residents.