Earlier this month, together with Minister of State for Seniors Ralph Sultan, I had the chance to announce that DriveABLE assessments will now be available here in Williams Lake, at the Service BC office. This is great news for local seniors, who are now able to complete both in-office and on-road assessments close to home.
For those of you who are not familiar with the DriveABLE service, it is different from the driver medical fitness assessments that all drivers have to complete at age 80 and every two years after. Only specific individuals are asked to take the DriveABLE assessment, on the recommendation of their physician, when there are concerns about their cognitive functions in regards to driving. In other words, if the doctor is concerned that a client’s ability to drive may be diminished, they are recommended for the assessment. The government covers the costs of the DriveABLE assessment for anyone who is recommended for it, and out of the 140,000 people who took the driver medical fitness assessments last year, only a very small number, less than 2 per cent, had to take it.
Not only is this service now available close to home, but it has also been improved over the past year. Companions can now accompany clients who are taking an assessment, meet the assessor, and ask questions.
Also, all clients referred for this assessment now have the chance to take an on-road evaluation if they do not pass the in-office assessment. This means that those who are capable of driving safely are given every opportunity to demonstrate this in a supportive, relaxed environment. There is also a toll-free phone number that clients can call with their questions, as well as a new information guide and a DriveABLE section on the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles website.
With these improvements, and with the service being available here in Williams Lake, the DriveABLE assessment is now more supportive, fair and accessible, keeping our roads safer for everyone.
Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.