Staying behind the wheel

Changes are coming for B.C.'s elderly drivers.

The road assessment that helps determine whether drivers can safely remain at the wheel will be enhanced next year.

The NDP government are hoping the changes will improve accessibility.

Beginning next spring, ICBC will deliver the new enhanced road assessment to drivers whom RoadSafetyBC determines need a functional road assessment regarding their medical fitness to drive safely. The assessment will include drivers with medical conditions who currently attend an ICBC re-examination and drivers who are currently referred for a DriveABLE cognitive assessment.

"The enhanced road assessment puts the focus more sharply on whether someone's still safe to drive their vehicle, and it's conducted in a way that's more accessible and will improve safety," said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth. "The new process is the result of consulting experts and looking at many options, including what other jurisdictions are doing, so drivers can be confident that others around them are qualified to be at the wheel."

The new approach will extend the current ICBC re-examination to 90 minutes from 75 minutes, incorporate new components to assess driving errors that may result from cognitive impairment and other areas of medical concern.

The in-office computer-based screening that's currently part of the DriveABLE assessment will be eliminated. Instead, ICBC driver examiners will gradually increase the complexity of driving tasks, provide a break and feedback midway through, and have clear parameters for ending an assessment early if necessary, all to help maximize safety in real-world driving conditions.

Drivers will be allowed to use their own vehicles.

For more details on the announcement check the BC government website.

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