To the editor,
Re: Many of us know someone who shouldn’t be driving, Opinion, Jan. 27.
I’m a senior and fully recognize that driving is a privilege, not a right, but the medical driving examinations referred to in Tim Schewe’s excellent column are unconstitutional, unscientific and unsupported by statistics.
According to an ICBC report on fatalities by age group and contributing factors, in the 16-45 age group, speeding and/or impairment were factors in 90 per cent of fatalities while distracted driving was a factor in 65 per cent of fatalities. By comparison, in the 66-plus age group, speeding and/or impairment were factors in only five per cent of fatalities and distracted driving was a factor in just 25 per cent of fatalities. Clearly, seniors pose the least risk to themselves or other road users than any other group.
The medical driving examinations are unconstitutional because they target individuals based on their age which is a clear violation of our human rights. They are not scientific. I recently completed a test where, among other things, I had to correctly identify a lion, a rhinoceros and a camel. I was also asked to count backwards from 100 – by sevens (try it). Furthermore we have to pay $135 for the privilege of being harassed. I was also astonished to learn that seniors can ask for a free driving test to prove their competence. This would seem to be a more logical, common sense way of assessing ability. I think it is more realistic to know the difference between a yield and a merge sign than the difference between a lion, a rhinoceros and a camel. Don’t see too many of them around these parts.
Alan McPhee, Nanaimo
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