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Letter: A senior's right to drive

Writer wonders how many hoops senior drivers must jump through to maintain their license
Who determines whether a senior can continue to drive? A reader asks.

Dear Mr. Minister

Re: Senior applicant's right to drive. We are confronted by a situation where a senior driving applicant has passed a medical exam with flying colours, with a form to substantiate this. When applying for license at the Registry, the senior was told by a reviewing officer she would first have to take a driving test. 

Our question is this: In the face of a completed Medical Examination for Motor Vehicle Operator's Form, signed by a medical doctor in good standing and in the applicant's possession--which cites no further requirement--how then can there be further requirement?

Is a medical doctor’s assessment as cited in the form valid and legal? As your office is aware, this isn't an isolated incident. Reviewing Officers of Driver Fitness and Monitoring of Alberta Transportation often take upon themselves authority which is unethical and illegal.

The right to drive is a big issue with a lot of older Albertans. Something like 11,000 older Albertan are fully-employed and need to have a license to drive. We are told that persons who have been denied their license tell Driver Fitness and Monitoring Review Officers that they have been driving for 50 or 60 or more years,
have never had an accident and have a Class 1 or 2 License. Review Officers respond that 'that was then and this is now.'

Don’t drag out something from the dim, dark past: This is now. The applicant has an amazing “clean” assessment with no negatives, and she should be granted her license. She nor we should have to grovel for her right to drive. What do you think?

Ruth Adria, Elder Advocates of Alberta Society (1992)