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Recently, some seniors and family members have contact my office with questions and concerns about drivers’ licenses for seniors. Typical questions are:
• Is there an age at which seniors must take special tests to prove they can still drive?
• Why do some seniors receive letters saying they must be tested and what kind of tests are ordered?
• What is the DriveABLE program and what is a DriveABLE test all about?
• Can East Kootenay seniors access what they need in this region?
Here is some information that will help seniors and their families understand the rules.
A senior can simply renew their driver’s license like anyone else, unless a physician, family member or the RCMP have registered a legitimate concern with the Motor Vehicle Superintendant (MVS). At age 80, the senior must also provide a medical report from a doctor. This report is quite simple and requires a visit to a doctor.
When the MVS hears about a concern from a physician, the RCMP or a close family member, the MVS will send a letter to the senior driver and ask that a test be done. The test may be (1) medical, such as a hearing or eye sight test, (2) a road test with ICBC, or (3) a DriveABLE test.
A DriveABLE test specifically focused on cognitive impairment and is not the same as a road test. A DriveABLE test is only required where a person has been reported as having cognitive function problems. In 95% of all cases, DriveABLE tests are ordered because a doctor has indicated the need, after an in-office assessment.
It’s important to note, however, that most visits to doctors do NOT result in a request for a DriveABLE test. Less than 2% of drivers who see their doctors are required to take this test. Seniors shouldn’t be worried about seeing their doctor at age 80 if they are driving and functioning well, given their age.
When a road test, a specific medical test or a DriveABLE test is ordered, the senior will receive a letter asking that the test be done within 30 days of the date of the letter and that if the test results are not back to the MVS in 30 days, the driver risks cancellation of his or her license by ICBC. Extensions of time can be arranged. If a license is cancelled, the driver can be reinstated by providing the necessary information, such as a successful DriveABLE test result, evidence that eye sight has improved, a successful road test.
A road test can be done in the East Kootenay, as can a specific medical test. The closest DriveABLE office is in Nelson, although the mobile DriveABLE unit will come to the East Kootenay when a full day of testing is set up. I personally believe that a DriveABLE office should be set up in Cranbrook to serve our region and I am currently advocating for that to happen.
I hope you find this information helpful. Please contact me if you have any questions or comments: 250-417-6022; firstname.lastname@example.org