The Greater Terrace Seniors Advisory Committee met May 3rd and heard concerns that a significantly large body of seniors in this area objects to the implications of DriveABLE, following a large public meeting on that topic April 12th at the Happy Gang Centre.
We are all in agreement that there is no doubt that public safety is a primary concern when it comes to driving. However, as more and more seniors age and survive to the fulsome age of 80 the need for compulsory testing can only be manageable and respectful if it allows individuals fair and equitable access.
Already seniors are suffering from ageist discrimination through a government-imposed regulation that requires they supply a drivers medical examination report (DMER) at age 80. For those reported 1500 seniors who failed this exam and were required to complete a DriveABLE assessment, many would have no chance of consideration due to the limited opportunity to do so as only 17 centres in BC provide this service.
This is an unfair and biased condition that makes success impossible for the candidate. It is cost prohibitive for many, adds unnecessary stress to most seniors mental and physical condition and doesn’t allow for equality, which is a fundamental right of all Canadians.
Driving is key to independence for most adults in B.C. It is even more necessary for rural citizens who do not have the luxury of effective or existent transit in their community, and even more so for seniors who are no longer as agile as the young and therefore rely on their own transport for mobility. That independence allows them to be functional, effective contributors to society and is a priceless privilege.
DriveABLE, due to its location limitations, does not provide a fair playing field for evaluation and assessment. Until DriveABLE is made available at all centres that already have qualified ICBC examiners in place we do not support it. This committee requests that it be eliminated or replaced with local examination so candidates have access that is fair, affordable and familiar to them.
Diana Penner, Chair Greater Terrace Seniors Advisory Committee