Senior citizens shouldn’t be stereotyped as bad drivers based on one horrible incident, the organization that represents Ontarians aged 55 and older says.
Susan Eng, of CARP, said the Toronto accident that cost a young mother her life on Tuesday was tragic but cautioned against focusing on the age of the driver in the incident — 83.
“I think this does feed a stereotype about older drivers,” she said. “It would be inappropriate to immediately jump to the conclusion that her age was the sole reason for the accident.”
Many motorists of all ages are involved in crashes for a variety of reasons, she noted.
Between 2002-2006, teenage drivers were about twice as likely as senior drivers to be involved in fatal collisions or at-fault accidents, according to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.
Asked about the incident yesterday, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said the government does screen older drivers.
But the premier said it is the responsibility of seniors and their doctors to make sure they put it in park for good when driving skills deteriorate.
“It does call for, I think, careful reflection and consideration by our seniors and by their doc-tors,” he said. “They need to take into account, both of them working together, the capacity of the senior to safely control their vehicle as a driver. There does come a point in time when it is no longer safe for you to drive a car and you have to be honest with yourself in that regard.”
Transportation Minister Jim Bradley said Ontario already has the toughest screening policies for drivers 80 years and over.
“We get most of our complaints from senior drivers who think that it’s very onerous,” Bradley said.
Licensed Ontario drivers who turn 80 must pass a written test and vision test and take part in a group education session every two years.This article was originally carried in a series of local papers owned by Canoe on January 14th 2010, to view this article on the Niagara Falls Review website, please click here