All indications are that senior drivers are finally about to get a break. The current law requires anyone 65 or older to pass an annual road test in order to continue holding a commercial licence.
The Ontario Trucking Association and Owner-Operators Business Association of Canada have reported that the Ontario Transport Minister has assured them that he’s looking into making the renewal an easier process, if not eliminating it altogether.
For years the process has puzzled me. If experience is the greatest teacher, then shouldn’t rookie drivers be the ones subjected to this annual testing fiasco?
If I was a fleet owner or manager, I think I’d feel a lot more comfortable knowing my $100,000 investment is being captained by someone who has spent years driving through snow, freezing rain and whatever else nature throws at them.
If the new 65 is the old 55 (or in my case, the new 54 is the old 39, sorry couldn’t resist) then consideration, at the very least, should be given to pushing annual testing back just a tad. If they’re not going to eliminate it altogether, am I out of line to suggest 70 or 75 should be the new threshold?
I know there’s going to be those who argue seniors experience declining reaction time, poor or impeded judgment and a host of other problems. Here’s a wake-up call, you don’t have to be a senior to experience these! They can happen to anybody. My dad just turned 88. He is fully independent, takes Tai Chi twice a week, volunteers at the seniors home (helping feed people 20 years his younger) and manages his own finances and affairs. He still drives.
In order for him to keep up his G licence, he takes a written test every two years. He scored 100% on his last test.
Don’t go telling him that his driving capabilities are suspect just because of his age.
He tells me he’s got two more years on his current car, and then he’s planning on buying a Toyota Rav-4. That should last him another four or five years. Do the math. This man plans on driving into his mid-nineties!
I applaud the Minister for finally doing something. I just hope he’s not blowing wind on this one. For sure, it won’t be an easy, quick process. If you’re a senior, hang in there. The industry needs you!