CBC’s The Current: Are police targeting elderly drivers in Sudbury?

Head to YouTube and you can watch dozens of scenarios to a problem with older or elderly drivers. Statistically,drivers aged 80-plus almost have the accident rate of the most dangerous driving demographic … the under 24s. And in Sudbury they are the target of a police tip-line urging other drivers to call in to report any seemingly erratic or dangerous elderly driver. Simple public saftey in action? Or age discrimination?

On Thursday, February 28th, 2013 – CARP’s Susan Eng was interviewed on CBC’s “The Current”, with Anna Maria Tremonti to talk about the tip-line in Sudbury that targeted older drivers. To see the article and listen the segment, click here.


Panel: Barbara Kay / Susan Eng

I’m totally appalled that they would focus in on one group, when there’s so many poor drivers on the road. I think any age … I think they should be checking speeders, just crazy drivers, not just age.

Darleene McCormack is 67 and she says she’s prepared to hang up her car keys but she wants to do it on her own terms. She lives in Sudbury, Ontario. And she is appalled that a safe-driving task force in Sudbury is urging residents to anonymously report elderly – or older – people who are driving erratically.

The program is run through the local Crime Stoppers. And in some cases, it could result in a plain-clothes police officer paying a visit to the driver’s house. The program has upset a lot of people. But Ontario Provincial Police Inspector Mark Andrews says it could help people deal with dangerous situations.

But Darleene McCormack says those uncomfortable conversations shouldn’t be happening with a plain-clothes police officer.

Sudbury Police Chief Frank Elsner has come under some harsh criticism over this task force. We aired a clip with how he explains it.

* Thanks to our colleagues at CBC Sudbury for all that tape.

According to Statistics Canada’s most recent numbers from 2009, there are just over three million senior citizens in Canada who have a driver’s license. About 200,000 of them are 85 or older. And as our population ages, most people expect those numbers to rise.

So for their thoughts on how to manage what can be an emotional decision — giving up one’s right to drive — we were joined by two people.

Susan Eng is the Vice-President of Advocacy with CARP, a national advocacy group for aging Canadians. She was in Toronto.

And Barbara Kay is a columnist at The National Post. She was in Montreal.

Click here to LISTEN to the interview.