Math shows senior drivers need watching

Letter to the editor explaining how a simple math formula, along with data, shows that elderly drivers need better assessments

There are 700,522 people over the age of 64 in British Columbia.

One study determined that “…among elderly people living in the community, … 15.8 per cent had cognitive impairment but no dementia, and 4.3 per cent had dementia.”

A person with dementia should not drive; a person with cognitive impairment but no dementia should have an assessment of driving ability.  Therefore, there are  (700,522 x (0.158 + 0.043= 0.201)=) 140,805 people in B.C. who either should not drive or whose driving ability should be assessed. Another study found that, among people with dementia or cognitive impairment without dementia, at most 8% reported that they had dementia.

Since 92 per cent of people with cognitive impairment do not report that they have cognitive impairment, there are (140,805 x 0.92 =) 129,540 people who may be driving with cognitive impairment, but do not report the impairment.

The Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles (OSMV) has the legal responsibility to assure that a person who has a driver’s licence can drive safely. It would be prudent for the OSMV to formally assess the driving ability of older drivers every few years.

Robert Shepherd

Saanich

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