A pilot program that allows seniors 80 and older to renew their driver’s licenses in Sooke has been extended through 2022.
The Enhanced Road Assessment (ERA) was launched in Sooke in 2020, just before the COVID pandemic.
Several RoadSafetyBC programs were altered in response to the pandemic, including the medical assessment process and all on-road assessments, to minimize the impact on residents and allow physicians to focus on patient care.
The pandemic measures have resulted in fewer referrals for drivers for on-road assessments, and only a few ERAs have been conducted in Sooke.
“With such low numbers of assessments and pandemic measures still in place, an evaluation of the pilot continues to be ongoing,” said Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth in a letter to Sooke Mayor Maja Tait.
The pilot project will run through 2022.
RoadSafetyBC expects a return to average volumes of ERA referrals, and post-pandemic environments will start to be evaluated.
RoadSafetyBC, the B.C. government’s agency responsible for road safety, mandates persons 80 and above to renew their driver’s licence every two years. They are required to get a medical examination report completed by their physicians.
The medical report includes checks for cognition, eyesight and overall physical health. Medical Services Plan does not cover the exam cost, which varies anywhere from $50 and up, depending on the physician.
However, those who fail the medical exams may end up having to take the Enhanced Road Assessment to determine whether they are fit to drive. It is free of charge, but it takes 90 minutes to complete and includes a pre-trip vehicle orientation, a 45-minute on-road drive and a post-trip review.
RoadSafetyBC indicated a driver could not pass or fail an enhanced road assessment. It’s just a process to determine the person’s fitness and ability to drive.