Driving exam tough on 80+

Are elderly seniors being targeted by B.C.’s insurance corporation just to get them off the road?

To the editor;

Are elderly seniors being targeted by B.C.’s insurance corporation just to get them off the road? Seniors are wondering why all of a sudden keeping their licence is being put in jeopardy.

It seems once you are 80 or older you are required to have an annual medical exam. Within this exam doctors are administering a cognitive ability or a min-mental state exam (MMSE) as part of that medical.

It is your score numbers of this exam that could be misinterpreted. One: if the doctor does not do the test with due diligence, and two: if the insurance corporation does not interpret the numbers correctly you could be asked to take another test called a DriveABLE Test. No, you can’t take the DriveABLE test here in Williams Lake. For those of you that are not computer literate this test can also be a challenge, besides having to get to one of only three locations to take the exam, Prince George, Kelowna, or the Lower Mainland.

One should be prepared to have a co-driver because failing this test; the DriveABLE examiner may take your licence. Refusing to take the DriveABLE test is automatic licence revocation.

Normally the criteria used to determine a person’s cognitive ability takes into consideration an expected lower score, if the subject is over 65 and the level of the subject’s education is very low.

If this test were conducted consistently over a number of years, a declining annual score could, and probably should attract attention. Dementia and Alzheimer’s may be recognized and require attention. However, no one knows the skill level of examiners reading these scores, a lack of training could unfairly target some elderly seniors. Additionally, examining doctors may, at the same time, also be shrugging responsibility to avoid future legal complications.

Elderly seniors can do better on MMSE testing, by continuing to take part in intelligence demanding activities. Failing to do this could lead to lower MMSE scores.

Doug Wilson

Williams Lake