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Routley gathers ammunition in bid to challenge seniors driving tests

Cowichan Valley MLA Bill Routley is reminding local seniors to get their petitions in about the province’s seniors’ driving retesting program.

A number of riled-up seniors raised qualms about Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles DriveABLE retests this summer and Routley is collecting names to take to the Nov. 21 to 24 legislation sitting.

He’s also planning on saying a few words to the legislature on behalf of local concerns.

“One of the clear things, first, is to try and provide the whole experience locally and not pull people out of their communities,” Routley said. “There ought to be a way to practise locally. I don’t like the idea people are forced to sit at computers.

“We’ve had people who’ve been really upset. One guy even lost 11 pounds over the worry of going into a room and into a kind of mystery maze where they have no idea what it all means.”

Duncan’s Ann Dusseault created the Cowichan cruise for action following a local seniors-focused driving workshop.

She had a whole list of concerns about the DriveABLE assessment including the fact seniors are taking the road portion of the test in an unfamiliar city in an unfamiliar company car.

The 74-year-old also hates how seniors are plunked in front of a computer for the first bit.

“You have no choice. You have to take it in Victoria and you have to take part of it on a computer,” she previously said.

BCAA director of road safety strategies David Dunne responded to Dusseault’s concerns saying they aren’t new and aren’t falling on deaf ears.

“DriveABLE is a cognitive driving assessment for people with potential cognitive impairments. It’s a way of assessing those functions related to driving,” he explained.

“The way the research was developed, the kinds of navigational errors people would make because they’re not familiar with their surroundings aren’t scored,” Dunne said on unfamiliar city cruises. “So there’s no bias. They’ve also validated research from people from rural and urban areas and there was no difference with the outcome.”

Results are always compared to others the same age.

“It’s much more of an age-sensitive tool, as opposed to an ICBC road test which is the same test, pass or fail, no matter what age you are.”

Routley and a rural caucus group are working on forming recommendations to put forward.

Petitions are available at Routley’s office at 273 Trunk Rd. in Duncan. Call 250-715-0127 for information.

“We’re just trying to gather as much information as we can so we can put forward recommendations,” he said.

He’s urging seniors to get petitions in before the end of November, preferably by mid-November.

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