The CARP North Fraser Chapter met with British Columbia Superintendent of Motor Vehicles Sam MacLeod on February 12th to talk about senior driving rules. Below is Chapter Chair Bruce Bird’s summary of the presentation they made. You can read the full presentation on the chapter’s website.
The present rules about senior drivers are unfair and discriminatory. They are based on an outmoded concept of seniors as old and feeble. Most seniors today lead healthy, active lives.
The North Fraser Chapter of CARP held two public meetings on seniors driving rules. Some other BC chapters held similar meetings. We heard heart-wrenching stories about the impact of loss of independence caused by losing the right to drive.
The United States Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported in February 2014 that:
- The rate of decline in traffic accidents is greater for seniors than for middle-aged drivers.
- The greatest rate of decline was for drivers 80 and older.
- Accident rates per mile traveled also declined faster for older drivers.
Not in the written presentation but discussed verbally were studies from different parts of the world which proved that senior drivers as a group are as safe as or safer than other age groups.
Two studies in particular stood out. Sweden helps drivers to keep their licenses for as long as they can safely drive. Finland has very strict rules about senior drivers, removing many from the road at age 75. A comparison of accident rates of seniors in both countries shows they are almost identical. But the rate of senior pedestrian fatalities in Finland significantly exceeds those in Sweden.
The second study compared senior driver accident rates in different Australian states. It showed that states with relaxed driving rules for seniors fared just as well as states with strict driving rules.
Click on any of the following links to see the news coverage that resulted from this campaign:
- Senior drivers don’t need mandatory medical exams says advocacy group, CBC News March 24th, 2015
- North Fraser Chapter: CARP asks to scrap drivers testing, BC News March 19th, 2015
- Medical exam for 80 year old drivers is discriminatory, advocacy group says, March 18th 2015