CARP Warns Against Ageism toward Older Drivers

TORONTO May 8, 2008 – CARP, Canada’s Association for the 50 Plus, warns against taking an ageist attitude towards the right of older Canadians to keep driving.

CARP is taking part in the Aging Driver Mobility Forum sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation being held today and tomorrow and will be putting the case that legitimate concerns about medically-at-risk drivers should not be used to discriminate against older drivers simply on the basis of age.

“The right to keep driving is crucial to the independence and mobility of people especially as they age and hence an important element of their quality of life. CARP would support bona fide regulation or restrictions based on competency but not blanket restrictions or increased insurance costs based purely on the driver’s age” said Susan Eng, vice President of Advocacy for CARP.

The messaging in the public comments is also important; CARP endorses the statement of Mark Yakabuski, President & CEO, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) who said in a news release “Everybody ages differently and we don’t want to send the message that all older drivers are dangerous, because it’s simply not true.”

CARP recognizes the need for driver retraining and as a result has been a community partner/sponsor of the Drivewise program (drivewise). Drive Wise is a free OPP-delivered seminar that includes a basket of tips, suggestions and driving strategies, which are preventive measures against the most likely causes of collisions and mishaps faced by mature Canadians on the road. In June 2003, CARP was awarded the OPP’s prestigious Partners in Community Safety award for its commitment to Drive Wise. According to CARP, determinants need to be developed for health care professionals to effectively measure physical and cognitive impairment in terms of safe driving – and this includes clearly defining medical impairment to avoid abuse. CARP supports CANDRIVE which is a research program doing just that.

Because mobility and independence are so important to older people, CARP also recommends that a restricted license, for example, be issued to older drivers who are still competent, but are not comfortable driving at night or on the 400 series of highways. Driving is a privilege and the right to drive should be based on ability rather than age.

CARP, Canada’s Association for the Fifty Plus, is the largest national voice for 50+ Canadians. A non-profit, non-partisan organization CARP is committed to advocating for social change that will bring financial security, equitable and timely access to health care and freedom from discrimination; ensuring that the marketplace serves the needs and expectations of our generation and providing value-added benefits, products and services to members; and building a sense of community and shared values among our members in support of CARP’s mission.

For further information, please contact:

Michelle Taylor Communications Coordinator 416.363.8748 x.236

Susan Eng
Vice President Advocacy
416.363.8748 x.226