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How should doctors decide when a senior driver’s license should be reviewed?


Doctors are expected to report people who have a medical condition that prevents them from being able to drive safely. But the line between fit and unfit to drive is difficult to define, especially for seniors with multiple cognitive, sensory and/or physical issues. And as baby boomers age, doctors will increasingly have to weigh the safety of their patient and others, with their patient’s desire for independence and mobility.

Joe Saltarski, an 89-year-old who lost his license earlier this year, thinks the current way doctors test senior drivers is unfair. A former bus driver, he’d only had one minor accident in his life. At age 87, he drove across the country to move closer to his son in Chilliwack, British Columbia.

The first doctor he saw in the province administered a test, called SIMARD MD, aimed at detecting cognitive impairments that can interfere with driving. For one part of the test, he was asked to name some vegetables he would see in a grocery store.

“I pretty near laughed,” says Saltarski.

Based on the results from that doctor’s office test, Saltarski was referred to the Ministry of Transportation and was required to do a road test. He failed that test because the examiner said he exceeded the speed limit in a school zone (which Saltarski disputes). And when he took a second test, the examiner failed him for driving too slow. “You can’t win for losing,” says Saltarski.

Due to the failed tests, Saltarski no longer has a license. He misses being able to go shopping or to the barber on his own, but the psychological blow of losing his license has hit him the hardest. “I feel like I’m going downhill,” he says.

When doctors recommend a patient not drive, it can seriously damage a doctor-patient relationship. “Some patients don’t go back to a doctor who has recommended they don’t drive,” says Chris Frank, a geriatrician and palliative care doctor in Kingston, Ontario.

It can also have negative repercussions for patients. “They feel they’re a bother to everyone if they ask for rides,” says Carol Libman, a consultant with CARP Canada, a seniors advocacy organization. “Isolation is one of the worst things. People get depressed,” she explains.

In other cases, however, family members have been pleading with their loved one not to get behind the wheel, to no avail, and appreciate a decision from an objective authority. When Frank recommended a male patient not drive last week, for example, “his wife was very relieved,” he says.

The decision to remove someone’s license can also prevent deaths. Although senior drivers don’t have more accidents than younger drivers, they are more likely to die in a crash due to increased susceptibility to injury and medical complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2013, drivers 65+ made up almost 20% of driver fatalities caused by collisions, compared to 13% in the 20-24 age group, even though the age groups had the same rate of driver injury. Importantly, however, when it comes to the risk they pose to others, teenagers and drivers in their 20s are much more likely to kill other people on the road than seniors are.

Currently, there’s wide variability in how doctors evaluate a senior person’s driving fitness, and whether they assess it at all.

How doctors decide when to refer a senior who may be unfit to drive

In most provinces, when doctors think someone shouldn’t drive or are unsure, they are required to send a report on that person’s medical condition to their provincial Ministry of Transportation. In Alberta, Nova Scotia and Quebec, doctors aren’t legally mandated to report unsafe or potentially unsafe drivers. But even in those provinces, doctors’ professional bodies recommend reporting. “If a doctor believes that a patient may harm him/herself and/or others by continuing to drive, they are ethically obligated to report,” writes Kelly Eby, director of communications at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta. Depending on the information in the doctor’s report, transportation authorities may suspend the license immediately (if a person has advanced Alzheimer’s, for example), or they might request further medical or road testing.

How doctors decide whether a person’s medical condition should be reported to the Ministry of Transportation varies by province and by individual doctor. The Ministries of Transportation of BC and Alberta recommend that doctors administer the SIMARD-MD test for seniors they suspect may have cognitive issues that prevent them from driving safely. In Ontario, meanwhile, doctors rarely use the SIMARD-MD test, says Shawn Marshall, a doctor who is researching driving habits of seniors for the CanDrive research project.

Libman argues the SIMARD-MD test casts too wide a net and her opinion isn’t without backing. Research published in 2013 in Accident Analysis and Prevention found that drivers who passed many other cognitive tests failed the SIMARD-MD test and concluded the test “lacks sufficient precision to provide clear recommendations about fitness-to-drive.”

Physicians across Canada also rely on the Canadian Medical Association’s guide, which provides advice on what to think about when it comes to the driving ability of more than 100 medical conditions.

It’s ultimately up to physicians to decide how or whether to assess patients on their driving potential, however. One study from 2007 found that Ontario doctors only assessed driving capabilities among their patients who were diagnosed or suspected of having dementia a third of the time.

Chris Simpson, a cardiologist and the president of the Canadian Medical Association, thinks geriatric doctors are “pretty good” at assessing driving, but many family doctors don’t feel comfortable with “making a binary decision” when it comes to seniors who don’t have an obvious impairment. People who have seizures tend to be reported to the Ministry, but “the person with mild dementia, heart failure, renal failure, eyesight that’s not so great” are less likely to be reported, even though all these conditions could be just as dangerous.

Frank agrees. Doctors are much more likely to screen a senior for driving impairments “in cases where somebody says I don’t think my mother or father should be driving,” he says.

Improving the way doctors assess senior drivers

Part of the reason doctors are reluctant to assess senior drivers may be that the current in-office assessments available “have some validity” but can result in some safe drivers failing the assessment and some unsafe drivers passing the assessment. Marshall hopes his research will lead to more evidence-based decisions regarding when doctor’s refer senior patients to the Ministry of Transportation for review. Currently, he and his team are exhaustively examining various indicators of health status and driving habits for around 1,200 senior drivers over a six-year period.

Marshall says data collection will wrap up sometime next year, and based on the information, the CanDrive team hopes to identify the predictors of poor driving and create a tool to guide doctors in assessing patients. The tool likely won’t have simple pass or fail outcomes, says Marshall, but would indicate whether a senior patient is in a safe zone, unsafe zone or middle zone. “If the person is in the middle zone, then you would probably say, what can we do to keep them driving longer? And how do we prepare for when they are no longer able to drive?” he says.

Donald Redelmeier, a doctor and scientist at Sunnybrook Hospital, has conducted several research studies aimed at reducing vehicle collisions, the single biggest killer from birth to middle age. He thinks “how the individual driver is compensating” for changes in physical or cognitive function should be taken into account. Senior drivers tend to avoid driving at night or long distances, for example, which explains that even though seniors have far more collisions per kilometer driven than people in their thirties, they don’t get into more accidents overall than that age group.

Both Redelmeier and Marshall think that providing restricted licenses to senior drivers who may be borderline but not necessarily unsafe could help to improve drivers’ independence while still limiting their risk. Ontario is the only jurisdiction in North America that doesn’t allow restricted licenses for certain seniors. In Alberta, transportation authorities can restrict people to driving during the day time or within a certain distance from their homes, for example. While there is not sufficient evidence to show that putting conditions on a senior’s license decreases the risk of collisions, “graduated licensing for young drivers has been shown to be very effective,” notes Marshall.

As cognitive and physical impairments that come with age will increasingly prompt doctors to investigate driving capabilities, doctors should also think about whether reversible factors like medications or undiagnosed conditions could be interfering with a person’s cognition, says Marshall. “We always have to look at the individual level,” he explains. “Young drivers actually have the highest crash rates and we don’t say young people can’t drive.”

Do you think restricted licenses (for example, no expressway driving) should be introduced for seniors?

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57 comments

  1. Anton Hart

    %featured%My driver’s license was recently revoked by a student doctor under supervision by a physician I had never met before and was substituting for my regular physician at an academic hospital. I was angry. I am angry.%featured%

    • Gerry

      I know the feeling…a doctor actually told me he’d perform an MTO medical exam package, so I could take this heavy equipment operator’s course and get a job…that was 1987. He lied to the MTO, he lied to me, he lied to everybody…as a result, I STILL have a suspended driver’s license, and cannot get hired anywhere. Thank God for welfare. I am livid, and I seriously want to see that doctor piece of crud dead.

  2. Anmar Salman

    To be clear, physicians only report and administer cognitive testing. Physicians do not decide and definitely do not revoke licenses or driving privileges. Ultimately, that is the decision of the Ministry of Transport or government insurance agencies.
    While reporting a condition to the Ministry of Health could damage the patient-doctor relationship, I think the key is in effective communication with the patient. Yes patients will be unhappy and feel their independence has been taken away, but physicians need to highlight why a concern is raised and why a report is made.

  3. Rita Affleck

    High insurance rates for young drivers reflect their increased risk. If it is recognized that elder drivers also are in a high risk category, maybe raising insurance rates would encourage retirement from driving.
    It remains difficult to detect the worst young or old drivers given our current systems for evaluation.

  4. Karin

    I don’t think a doctor is in the best position to judge actual driving performance. Seniors older than a certain age ( I’m not expert enough to say what age, maybe 75, certainly by 85) should be required to do a yearly driving test on the road in order to keep their license. I’m sure it’s hard to give up driving, but putting others and yourself in danger by continuing to drive when incompetent is not ethical, and would not be endorsed for any other demographic group. Driving is a privilege not a right.

    • Philip DeBay

      if yearly tests are administered as you say, then anyone under age 30 should be included

  5. Deborah Egan

    I recently went through this with my 75 year old mother. It was one of the hardest things I’ve experienced … She was so angry. Better angry than having a serious accident on the road injuring self or others. How can we frame the choice to protect self and others with dignity?

  6. Virginia Miles

    Both my parents reached a point when they could no longer drive. My dad knew when he wasn’t safe on the road and asked me to cut up his license. My mother, on the other hand, had hers taken away. She was devastated. Even though she definitely should not have been driving because of her Alzheimer’s she was furious with the doctor and the Ministry.

    In my parents’ case, both clearly should not have been driving and thankfully they weren’t. Where it becomes much more difficult is when it’s not so cut and dry and then how should that decision be made to insure safety for all? Unfortunately we don’t have that answer yet.

  7. Gerry Goldlist

    I hate telling anyone that they do not meet the criteria for driving vision. I feel for the doctors who have to rely on softer issues to report a driver.

  8. Ed. Rockburne

    All of this concern about senior drivers is based on the general myth that once you reach a certain age, you are incompetent and suffer from dementia, and any special testing of seniors is discrimination and without justification.
    I have spent the last two years researching this very subject, and all of the major statistics in Canada , the United States, Europe and Australia, show that the senior drivers are the safest on the roads, have less cognitive impairment than all of the other age drivers. The elderly have 14.9% cognitive impairment, while the other age groups 18 to 54 years have 85.1% impairment (stats from the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada , and the Kim Institute of Mental Health U.S.A.)
    Seniors have fewer at fault accidents, but have a high fatal results when involved in accidents, not because they were responsible for the accident, but because their aging bodies and immune systems are weaker.
    This means that the Provincial Governments are testing the drivers with the best records, and should be doing something about the drivers who are causing the accidents and deaths of seniors, those between the ages of 18 and 54 years of age, who case 85% of all accidents.
    For a complete list of all research and commentary, please go to my website, at http://www.stopelderdriverabuse.ca. and stand up for yourselves, this is blatant discrimination.

    Sincerely Ed. Rockburne,RCMP, Retired.

    • Vera

      The elderly have 14.9% cognitive impairment? The Alzheimer’s society says the rates double every 5 years, so over 85 you push to 50/50 and it goes higher than that for 90+. Maybe if you count 65 as elderly which they like to do in the stats – lump 30 years of people together you reach 14.9.

      The problem is that seniors like yourself will get every health test known to man to prolong your life – all kinds of cancer screenings, blood tests for everything BUT there is no routine cognitive testing for anybody even at ages where you have a one in two chance of having Alzheimer’s.

      My neighbour had full blown Alzheimer’s and was driving merrily around, in total denial. Locked herself out of the car every week and CAA was called, the OPP were involved when she got lost driving but they told me that their hands were tied as “getting lost is not a crime”. She locked herself out of the house at least 5 times a week and didn’t lose her licence until she got lost again and was weaving all over the road. She finally fractured her skull falling down the stairs – her doctor must have dementia to not notice it.

      Elderly people who kill you also HAVE NO CONSEQUENCES. Mr. 25 year old will get the book thrown at them, but you get a slap on the wrist the older you get. Mow down a jogger on the sidewalk, get a 1 year licence suspension and a small fine, drop one on your driveway and not notice they were on your hood, get nothing – both cases in Ontario. So I suggest you get over your ridiculous assertions.

    • Janet

      Really doubt this statistic: age groups 18 to 54 years have 85.1% impairment. Something is missing here I think.
      I also think our society is far too wedded to the car and it would help all of us if a driver’s license were not seen as a medal of independence.

    • Daisy Heisler

      Thank you. I am of the same opinion and am just starting my fight. I have submitted my comment.

    • Lorraine Alexander

      Thank you. Just like travel insurance doubling at age 70..there us no magic esp in day and age we are healthy longer living longer and working well past our mid 70’s.
      Rules are archaic and sd be individual.

  9. Margaret Lundgard

    At age 75 a physical medical examination is required to renew a drivers license. After the examination the doctor may administer the SIMARD MD PROTOCOL, which he can then bill Alberta Health Services in excess of $200. Nothing about the test is disclosed or explained to the senior, nor is permission requested to perform such a test. People do not even know this is about dementia. Many seniors fail the SIMARD–not because they are exhibiting signs of dementia, but by the nature of the test and how it is scored. The SIMARD PROTOCOL & DriveAble Program is the most perfect marriage imaginable. After SIMARD comes DriveAble, a Private for Profit Organization that seniors are referred to and will cost hundreds of dollars paid for by the senior if they wish to keep their drivers license. If a senior cannot afford to pay each time tested (you guessed right– (no license).
    The Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Geriatric Journal, Lakehead University of Ontario, all state SIMARD MD should not be used in a clinical setting because it is not scientifically proven, is not reliable and not evidence based. The world renowned University of Monash in Australia also conducted studies on SIMARD MD and discontinued using it because it was not reliable and therefore has no value. There are also others who make the same claim. In the mean time, seniors are abused and victimized by this unjust protocol every day.
    An independent assessment of the ability to drive is needed, but has to be evidence based followed by a road test conducted by the Government of Alberta Motor Vehicle Branch which assures there is no conflict of interest involved such as DRIVEABLE that is a Private for Profit Organization. Testing should be extended to all age groups especially to those who have had multiple traffic offences and those who have caused serious injuries to others. The vast majority of fatalities and serious injury are not caused by the seniors. Statistics are available on the Alberta Department of Transportation website.

    Margaret Lundgard

    • Daisy Heisler

      Can I copy your article for my email or Facebook to my family in Alberta? I tried the SHARE and cancelled it because I did not want the whole article on my Facebook as all my “friends” have no need for it.

  10. Tim Leach

    they should be required to pass the same road and written tests annually as new drivers

  11. John Bauslaugh

    Life can be difficult for seniors. So much changes as we age. Over the years, a senior can find himself dealing with the loss of their professional life, loss through the death of a spouse, the loss of once loved homes as they downsize. Sometimes they lose their eyesight. Or their hearing. And sometimes – even when they don’t know it – they lose their ability to drive safely.

    It’s a hard thing for seniors to accept. For some, holding on to the car keys represents holding on to their autonomy and their independence. It can be a challenge for family members to confront seniors on safe driving issues. Some families report the conflict creates lasting anger and acrimony. Yet it’s not something that families, seniors – or their communities – can afford to ignore.

    Statistics show that many seniors, often without realizing it, just aren’t driving safely; and represent a huge risk both to themselves, other drivers, and pedestrians. A recent visitor to our BDD – Beyond Driving With Dignity facebook page, tells the story of an elderly aunt who had a new vehicle for just one year. In that time, she’d been in as many as 7 accidents – and yet refused to understand why objects and other cars “kept hitting her.”

    A new service in Ontario provides an answer for families who know or suspect their elderly loved one shouldn’t be driving. Instead of ignoring this important issue for fear of creating upset in the family, and continuing to allow the senior to put their own life, and the lives of others at risk, concerned family members can now contact the professionals at BDD – Beyond Driving With Dignity, Canada.

    A specially trained expert will come to your residence or other convenient location, spending one on one time with the senior. Not only is the BDD professional there to evaluate the cognitive and other skills of the elderly driver, but is also trained in a counselor role, able to help the senior transition into a life without a car by finding out transportation options that allow them to retain some independence – and allowing the senior to release what could have become a stubborn “death grip” on the keys.

    For more information, please contact :
    John Bauslaugh
    Beyond Driving With Dignity
    905-309-1525.
    jbauslaugh@bell.net
    https://www.facebook.com/BDDCanada

    • Sheila Boyle

      I did send a reply but I am not sure it went through. Is there a cost and if so how much. Thank you

  12. Ediriweera Desapriya

    Mobility is an important part of our senior citizen’s overall health and quality of life. Ability to drive safely should not determine by age but by overall physical and mental health. There need to be innovative and sensible traffic safety policies to help our senior citizen and their continue safe mobility.

  13. Dez Miklos

    As a driver trainer I work with a lot of seniors. They all have to be assessed on an individual basis. Some are very good, and then the other end of the spectrum is that some are really bad and are a menace. A basic road test is too short to find out if a senior is a potential hazard to him/herself and others. The most frequent faults are lack of observation such as failure to check blind spots. This then followed by unsafe left turns that are coupled with improper stopping at intersections (rolling stops). As seniors get on in age they fail to comprehend the speed of an approaching vehicle that might interfere with their right-of-way. The discussions in the doctor’s office is without the stress of being out on the road and interacting in traffic. Therefore while interviewing a senior crucial information may be missed. Sometimes I wonder if a doctor would be in the vehicle while a driver trainer such as I take a senior out on a trial run what would be the “official” verdict. This is a politically sensitive issue as politician and civil servants do not want to alienate the voting senior. Doctors run the same problem as there are high emotions are at stake. A simple solution would be that each five (5) years, at least in Ontario as driver licenses are being reissued, a mandatory test should be done to all applicants. catch the problem early and be democratic by picking on all.

    Visit http://www.saydez.com

    • martha Underwood

      told Donna I will be calling you in fall for picking up driving skills I am now 73 and the only driver in the household. and I also work so looking forward to having skills looked at and get on right track .

    • Gerry Goldlist

      I agree that everyone, regardless of age, should have a drivers test every five years. Obviously this is too expensive and impractical and we have to focus our resources on those who have multiple accidents, multiple speeding tickets and those groups in society that are more likely to have cognitive and physical disabilities. Focusing on these higher risk individuals is not a human rights issue but a safety issue.

  14. Wilton Nelson

    The survey questionnaire is biased I am going on 88 and having had police driving courses multiple times feel I have the capability to drive safely. My PR times are slower, admittedly but my new 2015 vehicle is equipped with blind spot passing warnings, lane deviation alerts, closing speed is too fast alert, rear view camera and lateral warnings, plus other features.

  15. A. Riall

    An 83 year old friend of the family experienced some form of kidney malfunction (don’t know the details) and was treated over several weeks as an out patient. One of the hospital doctors that was treating him said she didn’t know if he should be driving or not and told him he had to go and be tested (at a personal cost of $500+). This assessment was conducted by St. Elizabeth – Driver Assessment and the result was that he failed.
    So, an Ontario Doctor refers her patient to be assessed by a private organization at the patient’s expense ($500+) and the outcome of this assessment is recognized by the Ministry of Transportation. There are a few things about this that I find unsettling.
    a) if the medical community and the Ministry of Transport formally recognize and value this method of assessment then why is the cost of it not covered;
    b) since it is the cognitive ability of the person that is in question why expect him to assess whether he should have the $500 assessment or just give up his license?
    While this is a specialized type of driving test, it is not for the purpose of maintaining a professional or commercial license. Our senior citizens not only deserve our support but are entitled to it. They are the longest contributing members to the society we enjoy.

  16. LISA GORUK

    What do you do when the doctor is allowing a senior to drive? How do we get the doctor looked at my father in law has terminal cancer can’t walk half the time Is pulling over to nap when he’s driving and the family physician says he will leave it in my I’m laws discretion when the pain is too bad don’t drive? This is occurring in Burlington Ontario

  17. bcd

    Sounds like there is a bit of a vendeta going in the medical and licensing professions against seniors…period.

  18. Ed. Rockburne

    Seniors are the safest drivers on the roads, by all major statistics in Canada, U.S.A. , Europe and Australia, and have less mental and cognitive problems than those under 65 years of age. See the Canadian Alzheimers Society website, that states clearly that those under 65 years of age have 85.1% of all the mental illness, including dementia and Alzheimers disease.

    If there is going to testing, every age group should be tested, otherwise, this is raw discrimination.

  19. George Parsons

    I think older people ( over 85 ) should not drive at night or if they are becoming demented

  20. Wilson Adewale

    Doctors should not be the arbiter for withdrawing seniors driving licence because non of the tests at their disposal is fool proof.At Avis and Budget car rental group, many of the part time drivers are over 80 years old and they hardly fey ail required road test. They drive every where between Toronto, Winsor and Sudbury all year round.Their accident rate is minimal, hence the company hires them.
    The ministry of transport, neurologists and road testing personnel should jointly provide published guides.
    Seniors with sound reflexes and good visions suffer depression for loss of independence especially in the winter

    • Fred Robson

      I agree that doctors should not have the final say Wilson. A simple yearly driver’s test, actually on the road, would remove any doubts and maybe save some innocent lives. Why is this not so obvious?

    • Catherine

      No doctor should have any right to have anyones drivers license taken away,seniors are picked on continusly in ontario ,go to senior drivers abused by mto and read

  21. Fred Robson

    My mother is 88 and I believe she probably shouldn’t be on the road. I don’t want her or anyone else injured. Since the Ministry of Ontario won’t test her I’m going to out with her this week and see how she’s driving. A simple yearly driver’s test is all that’s needed and it would remove all the conjecture about whether they are able to drive safely or not.

  22. Dr. P

    I think we are stuck with doctors being required to report. We could test every 5 years over a certain age but even that would be expensive and what do you do with the patient who develops the disabling condition a few months after their most recent test. The point has been made that elderly drivers are generally quite safe but some are very obviously unsafe so we cannot ignore that. We could test everybody but the problem with younger drivers is they don’t cause accidents because they lack skills but that they don’t use them. For instance drunk drivers and people who use their cellphones while driving and people who drive at excessive speed can pull up their socks and pass the test. Then they go back to driving dangerously. As a doctor my personal pet peeve is patients who I know are suspended but still drive. Legally I cannot report them to the police because of confidentiality obligations. Seems kind of crazy.

  23. Name (required)

    I feel that if all drivers had to show they had acceptable hearing ,vision, cognitive, medical competency every 5 years from the time they got their license, it would off set some of the onus on the family doctor and family members, and “may ” catch those with drug related issues, etc…It is a privilege
    and I say this as someone in early senior category .Retesting / like many exams is nerve-wracking, but better that than death and injury. give the person a chance to take a drivers retraining and prove competency if their license is flagged…allow for re-testing before it is revoked or has restrictions.
    If this starts when you get a license, it becomes part of the routine.
    Thank you.

  24. James Somerville

    Age should NEVER be a consideration without that consideration being applied to all drivers. Furthermore, drivers of ANY age with “limited driving skills” should NOT be driving anywhere that is beyond their ability and expertise. That includes new drivers who are most in their teens and 20s, in addition to older drivers of any age!

    Stop using seniors as a scapegoat and address the issue fairly.

    Also, why don’t you include in your choices a choice that simply says “No. Seniors should not be restricted” It gives the very distinct impression that you are trying to guide the answers in a particular direction.

  25. Angela

    Based on my own experience and work with a full age range of adults, I have found more people UNDER sixty five having their licenses yanked for various medical conditions than those over 65. In my opinion, if the Ministry wants to keep the myth going about how driving is privilege, perhaps they should finance public transit to the point it actually becomes useable and outlaws discrimination against non-drivers for jobs, unless driving is the job.

    Getting your license after thirty is impossible for many, given that you need to rely on the availability and reliability of a driver with at least four years experience behind the wheel. Not all of us have parents available or nearby. So yanking a license for a medical condition, then suddenly withdrawing the license because the person is not able to get it back in time is wrong, wrong, wrong and produces a major economic loss for that person and their family. We don’t all live in Toronto where there is good transit.

  26. Kathleen barnes

    I’m an occupational therapist with two elderly parents. The key here is that I work in driver rehabilitation and I assess people’s ability to drive. My parents family doctor Does not seem to understand his role in this medical legal process. My mum has cognitive issues and my dad just had a stroke. The doctor assessed my dad telling him he thought he had a stroke last week and he let him drive home. My dad crashed the car on the left coming into the garage. He told my mum she was ok to drive despite her admitting she drove on the opposite side of the road in oncoming traffic. I feel my role is to educate him.

  27. Robert

    I am disappointed to hear that in my home state of New Hampshire, they have eliminated the mandatory re-test for drivers age 70 or older. I will be 70 next year and I think such a test is important. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s only after she had driven somewhere and did not know how to get home. my dad was 82 when he drove too close to a pedestrian and injured her hand when his right side mirror hit her hand. his insurance premium skyrocketed ro 18 thousand dollars a year.

  28. Suszie Queue

    My 86 year old mother who has Alzheimer’s, had no problem getting her listen e renewed for 2 more years even though she cannot remember what you just told her. After several fender benders, she still refuses to stop driving. Her disease makes her unaware of her own limitations. We raised our concerns with her doctor and although he confirms a diagnosis of Alzhemiers, because she scored 20 out of 25 on some simple paper driven memory test, he took no action as it concerns her driving. Even if MTO didn’t renew her licence, she won’t remember and would have likely continued t drive anyway. After her last accident, the family refused to get her car out of the body shop. Well meaning people keep settling with her outside of insurance and without reporting to the police. The family had to track down these people and inform them that it’s illegal not to report these accidents and settle with her outside of insurance. It was the family’s hoe that her insurance company would eventually stop insuring her. The whole situation is extremely frustrating for the family of Alzhemers sufferers and nobody seems to the responsible. I think the government should be road testing all seniors and start taking responsibility rather than hoping and expecting that police, doctors and family are going to solve these issues.

  29. Bert

    Comments are fine BUT we need a strong, active (!) Advocacy that goes to all Canadian Government Agencies responsible for Driver Licenses and really starts a revolution on behalf of senior drivers.
    If anyone of you who may read this note ever felt sad, had a bad day, was anxious about what the next day might bring, were furious and angry with a Government minion, was troubled by how to pay the mortgage………etc…..etc. you are all MENTALLY ILL according to MENTAL HEALTH ASSESSMENT questionnaire issued by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. Try to obtain a copy and answer the questions! The physician who has to answer these question can write whatever he wants. There are no proves, there are no tests, there is no data, just “to the best of your knowledge”…..
    These questions are circulated by the Driver Improvement Office of MTO or as I call them the Office of the Inquisition

  30. Bert

    “(which Saltarski disputes) i.e. exceeding speed. How does the examiner measure speed? Looking at the car’s speedometer or a hand-held GPS unit. Saltarski may very well have been right. Did He never challange this result?

  31. Hunter Gates

    I believe we must all look at this issue as if it is our own, for one day it will be. If we are restricting our seniors then perhaps we need to look at how do we help them maintain their independence. In no matter what frame of mind we find ourselves when the times comes to own up to the fact that we can no longer be that carefree 16 year old, we want to know that we are not losing out on life. We can’t, because if we do, then we give up. So looking at our seniors, what are we giving them as options in all the myriad of income levels and housing locations? When we find answers for them, we find answers for ourselves.

    • Patricia Rust

      I support your comment fully and think more of us need to look at this and many other social and societal concerns as our own and come up with viable solutions that bring a community together in suporting one another during the different phases of our lifes and also circumstances that arises.

  32. Dorothy. Mairs

    No she Dr, said I could drive if I wood drive in the big city
    I got my car to drive around in my town .
    Iam 85 and I have not had any weary
    i

  33. Patricia Rust

    I think that the way we treat one another is important. We are people no matter what age and want to feel considered and treated respectfully and not like objects. The tests that we give them put them in a position of feeling judged and lesser humans. I am not saying that we shouldn’t do some assessments but these should be in a their environment and simply spending some time with them, going for a drive with them and getting a sense of how the person behaves naturally in their environment would be a better evaluation. This could be done over a course of time with 2 visits over a year where an individual gets to know the senior and can better assess a situation.

  34. Anne

    perhaps the time has come where seniors need a Big ” S’ decal on their vehicles,
    just like the ‘L’ “N’
    other vehicles can be patient and have and a greater awareness to these senior drivers.

  35. Daisy Heisler

    Your questions to vote are limited to how to take seniors off the road. Why not include more positive questions about senior ability to drive to make a vote fair? In fact, many seniors live on or by a highway. This article is interesting, but it also points out how younger people are asleep at the wheel when it comes to research. I have been hit five times by people younger than myself (two times when my car was legally parked and two times rear-ended when stopped at a red light and rear-ended in a construction zone when I was stopped). I have caused no accident. Seniors should not be discriminated against until they show signs of needing some kind of help. My experience is that age is not in numbers. We DO NOT all age at the same time. I have worked in medicine for a quarter of a century and I know that physicians can be incompetent assessors of all kinds of conditions. Furthermore, some physicians quake and shake when they need to assess for government purposes.

  36. Daisy Heisler

    Patients have a right to see what is in their medical file. You have a right to see and know what the physician is writing about you. You also have a right to a copy of your own medical information. Just ask and if you are refused, insist on your rights and discuss what is being written. You may have to pay for copies. Confidentiality means your medical information cannot be shared to a third party without your consent. I wrote a book about one doctor’s fight to honor and keep his Hippocratic Oath in his fight with the BC govt. who wanted all patient secrets. The book is listed on the web and I wrote it because I want the public to KNOW their rights.

  37. Jan

    Ok so I admit I was at fault. Rear ended someone. Traffic stopped I had new car with phone set up new to me so when it rang split second look to see who was calling and boom. was charged with failing to yield ( median on one side traffic on other) no excuse. Anyway because I am 71 got letter To be retested. Only accident I have ever had in my 40+ years of driving. My complaint is since I retired I do not do highway driving. Only around town to do my volunteer work, Doctor , hair appt lunch etc. Why do I have to be forced to do a test on highway driving. Took refresher course been told I was good driver but I do not want to do highway no reason too. Did my written and vision test 100%. Now if I was 80 year old I would be given this little kindergarten written test. No road test. And since I am more able and more mobile than an older than me person I have to do all this. This does not seem right. Anybody have any answers.

  38. Catherine

    Why is age have any regards to how anyone can perform,this is inhumane as far as im concerned.there are seniors that can perform better then younger people,go to a gym and watch,this isnot fair just because of a number.the discretion of driving a vehicle should be left up to the individual.

  39. Paul Stein

    Stop the darn age discrimination! Re-test or remove licenses from ANY driver that has multiple tickets, traffic accidents or other traffic violations. Stop picking on the older generation just because they are older. Isn’t age discrimination illegal in this day and age in Canada? Why are we still practicing it? Stop it!

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