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)

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

Just Posted

A mixed-use development with 69 market rental units and 10 commercial units is proposed for the 2300-block of King George Boulevard. (Thinkspace rendering)
Pair of South Surrey apartment proposals move forward

Council gives third reading to rezoning applications for market-rental and residential projects

Launched in January, Uplift Canada was founded by Tsawwassen resident Maggie Larocque. (submitted photo)
Surrey shelters get clothing collected June 26 by Uplift Canada

Book a pickup on website of the new non-profit, founded by Delta resident

Converter thefts have increased dramatically as the price of platinum has skyrocketed. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press photo)
Catalytic converter thefts continue to plague Delta

Police say the thefts are on the rise across the city, with seven incidents on Thursday, June 17

TEASER PHOTO ONLY
‘Stay-at-home mom’ works to raise $25K to help Options build housing in Surrey

Tammy Bourelle boosts ‘Women of Options’ fundraising campaign, which ends June 30

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read