A few weeks ago I noticed an article in the Toronto Sun detailing the bureaucracy surrounding reinstating a driver’s licence after it has been suspended for medical reasons.
I can tell you that the Ontario Ministry of Transportation has a lot of work to do in this area.
For years I’ve had calls complaining about the slow process. Sadly (and I apologize) I haven’t addressed the issue until now. Unfortunately, I’ve had a firsthand look into how it works and it’s not pretty.
Last July I experienced what is called a ‘Lobar Intracerebral Hemorrhage.’ It’s part of the stroke family and a very scary experience. I’m one of the lucky ones since the odds of surviving weren’t in my favour.
Anyway, I did (as you can tell), but I found out rather quickly that the Ministry of Transportation has some real issues with stroke victims driving around after experiencing one of these events. A few days into my recovery, I was informed that my licence had been pulled.
To be honest, it was the right call. I had lost almost all of my left peripheral vision and judging distance was a real problem.
Fast forward to Jan. 6. My eyesight had returned to normal (the brain really is an amazing piece of work) and I was off to the optometrist for my eye tests as requested by the Ministry.
I passed with flying colours and I sent my results in the same day. It should be noted that before I did, I called to verify exactly what they needed in terms of paperwork. At that time the nice lady informed me there would be a two-to six-week waiting period before the decision would be made.
I’m not going to bore you with the details, but after countless phone calls, hours of waiting to speak with a live person, promises that it was being looked at “as we speak” or “your request has been elevated,” I received confirmation my licence had been re-instated as of March 15.
I should count my blessings it didn’t take longer. The Toronto Sun’s article pointed out that one person had been waiting five months (and counting) for a decision.
I don’t think anyone would argue with the role the Ministry plays in keeping our roads safe from medically unfit drivers. It’s the process that really needs to be looked at. I can imagine the anguish an owner/operator must go through looking at their rig, parked and not bringing in a dime, while he or she waits for the Ministry to get to their case.
I don’t pretend to have the answer but something has got to be done.
-Rob Wilkins is the publisher of Truck News and he can be reached at 416-510-5123.