Victoria: The road assessment that helps determine whether drivers can safely remain at the wheel will be enhanced next year, becoming more accessible and more focused on making B.C.’s roads safer for everyone.
Beginning in March 2018, ICBC will deliver the new enhanced road assessment (ERA) to drivers whom RoadSafetyBC determines need a functional road assessment regarding their medical fitness to drive safely. This assessment will include drivers with medical conditions who currently attend an ICBC re-examination and drivers who are currently referred for a DriveABLE cognitive assessment.
“The enhanced road assessment puts the focus more sharply on whether someone’s still safe to drive their vehicle, and it’s conducted in a way that’s more accessible and will improve safety,” said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth. “The new process is the result of consulting experts and looking at many options, including what other jurisdictions are doing, so drivers can be confident that others around them are qualified to be at the wheel.”
This new approach will:
- Extend the current ICBC re-examination to 90 minutes from 75 minutes, incorporating new components to assess driving errors that may result from cognitive impairment and other areas of medical concern.
- Eliminate the in-office, computer-based screening that’s currently part of the DriveABLE assessment, which many drivers have said adds unnecessary complexity and stress. Instead, ICBC driver examiners will gradually increase the complexity of driving tasks, provide a break and feedback midway through, and have clear parameters for ending an assessment early if necessary, all to help maximize safety in real-world driving conditions.
- Let drivers use their own vehicles, as many drivers have said that having to operate an unfamiliar vehicle affects their on-road assessment results.
- Improve access and convenience, with approximately 70 ICBC locations delivering the ERA provincewide.
“The vast majority of B.C. seniors successfully pass the driver’s medical exam,” said Isobel Mackenzie, B.C.’s Seniors Advocate. “For those very few who are referred for further testing, the changes being implemented by RoadSafetyBC represent a major improvement from the past system and will make the processes much less stressful for those seniors required to undertake a road test.”
“The Counsel of Senior Citizens Organizations of B.C. (COSCO) is encouraged that our collaboration with RoadSafetyBC assisted with the new direction of the driver fitness program,” said Gudrun Langolf, acting president, COSCO. “No one wants unsafe drivers on the road, regardless of age. The changes will be welcome news to many of our members who have heard of or experienced challenges with computer-based testing.”
“RoadSafetyBC’s new enhanced road assessment for individuals with medical conditions that may affect driving is a huge step in the right direction,” said Holly Tuokko, research affiliate, Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health, University of Victoria. “The detailed information provided to drivers concerning the assessment process, the opportunity for preparation before the assessment, feedback during the assessment, and a post-trip review all provide drivers with timely, relevant materials intended to maximize successful outcomes.”
Drivers required to take an ERA will receive it at no cost.
- RoadSafetyBC may require that a driver complete a road assessment as part of the process of making a driver medical fitness determination.
- Some of the most common reasons for a road assessment are a doctor’s report concerning a medical condition that may affect a person’s ability to drive safely, a police or collision report indicating a possible medical concern, or the results of a previous assessment suggesting follow-up assessments are needed.
- RoadSafetyBC evaluated the driver fitness of more than 170,000 people in 2016, of whom approximately 3,000 completed an ICBC re-examination and 1,000 completed a DriveABLE cognitive assessment.
- DriveABLE involves two components: an in-office assessment performed on a touch-sensitive screen, and an on-road evaluation. The ERA will eliminate the former and generate detailed reports that will help RoadSafetyBC make informed licensing decisions.
- While RoadSafetyBC oversees driving privileges, ICBC has the examiners and infrastructure to conduct driver testing in British Columbia.