Should Ontario overturn its rule for mandatory road tests past age 65?
July 1, 2008
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. - After much grumbling from the industry's elder truckers, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation has said it will consider changing its controversial annual road test requirement fo...
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. – After much grumbling from the industry’s elder truckers, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation has said it will consider changing its controversial annual road test requirement for A/Z licence holders over the age of 65.At the moment, Ontario is the only province that requires senior drivers to complete an annual road test and the practice has resulted in many veteran drivers hanging up their keys early or downgrading their licence.
Though nothing is set in stone, the MTO is now looking to find a “more appropriate set of rules that would relax the annual retesting requirement for drivers with good driving records.”
While the Ontario Trucking Association and other lobby groups like the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada have long been appealing to the province to abandon the rule, many still think that by age 65, drivers have lost much of their former reflexes and are unfit to man a big rig. Truck News stopped by the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Bowmanville, Ont. to if drivers would like to see the law overturned.
Oliver Bowen, a driver with Select Transport out of Windsor, N. S., thinks that the rule should stand, but says that car drivers should be subjected to the same tests.
“I think that once you come to a certain age you lose things: your reflexes, your sight and all that. I think (driving tests) should be mandatory after 65,” he says.
Gary Dufty, a driver with Holt Transport out of Whitby, Ont., doesn’t think drivers should have to be tested unless they’ve had an accident.
“Why should you be tested unless there was an accident involved? If you’ve had an accident, then you should be tested. If you haven’t had an accident, you should be left alone,” said the 53-year-old. “There are lots of drivers who are 70 years old who are just as careful as anybody.”
Dufty says a lot of the new drivers are much worse drivers than senior drivers who are “more patient” and “safer” than their younger peers.
John McCone, a driver with Erb Transport out of New Hamburg, Ont., not only thinks drivers should be taking the test after age 65, but says most should be retiring outright.
“I know I’m not going to do it after 65, but if they want to keep going, they should be tested,” he says.
Colin Sinclair, a driver for Hutton Transport out of Bowmanville, Ont., said he thinks 65 is a bit young to be tested, but stopped short of giving an exact age, saying testing should be conducted on a case-by-case basis.
“The only way to be fair is to do it to everyone instead of pinpointing certain people,” he says.
Joel Vermeersch, a Canadian driver with Landstar in Jacksonville, Fla., says that 65 is too young for a mandatory test for drivers.
“It should be changed. I’m approaching 60 now and I’m healthy and I will be when I’m 65, I hope. But (tests) should be done by the individual and the age should at least be pushed back,” he says.