If a government wants to jeopardize it’s chances of being elected, or re-elected, it only has to tick off senior citizens. And a terribly effective way of ticking seniors off is by taking away their drivers licence.
The B.C. government is now back-pedalling on use of the DriveABLE program for drivers 80 and over. The computer-based test is intended assess a driver’s cognitive ability.
Seniors all over the province, including the Shuswap, have been voicing their frustration with DriveABLE, stating it’s unfair, costly ($50 for the first test, more than $300 the second), and inconvenient (Shuswap residents must drive to Kelowna or Kamloops to take it).
Responding to the outcry, B.C. Justice Minister and Attorney General Shirley Bond announced Monday that the government would be making changes to how it tests seniors over 80, a key one being that drivers licences will no longer be revoked based on computer testing alone.
No doubt this will help appease our road-worthy octogenarians, who know well the lesson of the squeaky wheel, especially with a government that will need their votes come 2013.
That said, with a mass of baby boomers beginning to retire, and the steadily-growing population in the Lower Mainland, the B.C. government isn’t throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Instead, the award-winning DriveABLE program is itself being assessed. This, hopefully, will result in a program that is fair and respectful to seniors, while helping to ensure the roads are safer for everyone.