The current test given to drivers 80-plus discriminates against seniors, writes Thomas White, noting the test given to new drivers would suffice. (Thinkstock photo)

LETTERS: Time to scrap 80-year driving test

Editor: Re: Need to keep all ages safe, Dec. 7 letters.

Editor:

Re: Need to keep all ages safe, Dec. 7 letters.

As an 80-year-old burdened by excessive insurance costs – the consequence of bad driving by all age groups – I agree with letter-writer Marilena Young that the situation of elderly drivers needs looking into.

But first of all, it must be recognized that the hit-and-run syndrome exists in all driver categories and is not in any way age-related. It is a reflection of the low ethics prevailing across our modern society.

Concerning elderly drivers, two principal areas of concern are apparent.

First, inadequate attention.

It is noticeable that some older drivers, apparently because of inability or even unwillingness, will not turn their head in order to look sideways or backwards – and, of course, this is crucial to backing up.

In fact, many drivers of all ages rely entirely on mirrors, which at best give only a restricted view and faulty depth perception. Contrary to common belief, mirrors should be used only as an aid to backing, never as the primary means.

Second, the current 80-plus medical test.

Not being a test of driving ability at all, it is purely the application of some arcane medical concept in which many of the components have no relationship to driving.

It discriminates against those 80 and older by imposing requirements that no younger driver has to meet.

In short, it fails in its purpose because it does not address the objective, namely actual driving ability, and because it is known to provide a means of banning drivers who are otherwise competent.

As one example, a widowed, healthy old-age pensioner of our acquaintance was forced to sell her car because she failed the 80-year test. Subsequently, she discovered that she was in fact qualified to drive because the test had been modified as being too severe. By then, unfortunately, she could not afford to buy another car and has had to rely on friends and the buses ever since.

Young asks how we should deal with the particular issues. The answer is to do what is logical – focus on an elder’s actual competence to drive, as it is applied to everyone else.

The 80-year test should be scrapped as being ineffective and discriminatory. Instead, the standard driving test should be taken at 80, and possibly every five years thereafter. It makes no sense to burden our already overstressed medical system with an obligation that is a waste of time and money, when the job can be done better by the existing driving test.

Thomas White, White Rock

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vancouver Police were at a White Rock home Oct. 20 to conduct a search warrant. (Aaron Hinks photo)
ERT response to White Rock home connected to homicide: police

Search underway in the 15800-block of Prospect Crescent

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Oct. 18

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Ivan Scott. (Aaron Hinks photo)
Surrey mayor enters word war with speakers, councillor

McCallum calls brief recess after asking two speakers to leave chambers

Signs at a new COVID-19 testing and collection centre at 14577 66th Ave. in Surrey. It was relocated from an urgent primary care centre near Surrey Memorial Hospital. This new centre allows for up to 800 tests per day, which is 550 more than the previous centre, according to Fraser Health. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s COVID-19 case count exceeds 1,800

About 800 new cases in September

Montreal-based writer Michael Foy grew up in the Newton area of Surrey. (submitted photo)
Surrey-raised writer Foy really loves to set his short stories in the city

His latest is published in ‘Canadian Shorts II’ collection

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Maple Meadows Station’s new Bike Parkade. TransLink photo
TransLink to remove abandoned or discarded bicycles from bike parkades

Rules at TransLink bike parkades ask customers to use facilities for single day use only

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

Most Read