Sunday, April 14, 2013


That's my ride, a 2007 MX5, and my female passenger hidden in the reflection is my sweetheart of 46 years of marriage. We are looking out to the Gulf Islands. Driving in the open air and with the sun on our faces is one of the pleasures of our lives.

I heard someone say that the provincial government of B.C. was going to legislate that driver retesting would begin at age 70 and be repeated every two years. Public safety must be maintained. Of course it does. Do you think this is the place to begin?

Well sorry, but the closer one is to three score and ten or if you are 70 as I am or even a bit older than that, one tends to react with irritation.

A defence response kicks in. Sure I am 70 but I can still do math. I can read posted speed limits and I can read my dashboard data. This is the year that I should be retested if the program was already in effect. I might have to do a written as well as an actual motor vehicle street exam.

I used to drive truck for a living, both during college days and later full time before I obtained my first job as a church pastor. In Toronto I could drive a large Sears truck downtown, whip across a road when the Sears flagman stopped traffic and I could back up fast into a truck elevator with 3 inch clearance on each side mirror. I have always taken driving seriously and been diligent about observing good driving habits. I have driven in blinding snow storms on the worst of road conditions without negative incident. But that was then.

What about now? Has anything changed? Perhaps. The eyes are not what they used to be. The reactions perhaps a touch slower. I understand the concerns. But wait a minute. There are tens of thousands of drivers much younger than I who have poor driving habits and drive foolishly and even recklessly. There are inexperienced, unqualified and careless drivers of every age against whose driving I must daily be a defensive driver. Why, by virtue of age should teens, twenty-somethings, thirty, forty, fifty and sixty year olds be exempt for decades from testing beyond the initial exam that granted them their license?  There is an equity issue here. Fair play demands that statistics and medicine and wisdom combine to produce a piece of legislation that truly addresses public safety on our roads.

Test 70 plus drivers every two years. Fine! Re-examine every other driver every three years. Test drivers of trucks and buses for their specific licenses every three years as well.

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