Tuesday March 20,
The Hue and Cry
NDP says BC
Liberal amendments to DriveABLE a band aid
Submitted by Ed May, NDP Caucus
announcement that the Liberals will make changes to the DriveABLE
seniors' driver testing system is another example of the government
being forced to acknowledge problems and mismanagement, say the New
New Democrat public safety critic Kathy Corrigan was responding to
an announcement that the government will finally make some changes
to the controversial program that tests the driving skills of
"Opposition MLAs have worked with seniors in communities throughout
B.C. to identify problems with the DriveABLE system and seek
solutions. But as with so many issues, there has to be a huge public
outcry before the Liberals act to fix very real problems," said
Corrigan. "B.C. seniors have been through a lot of anxiety waiting
for the Liberals to take action."
The details of the announcement are still unclear, however,
government has said there will be a few more testing locations and
some seniors will be given an alternative testing option to the
controversial computer testing system.
Corrigan said the proposed changes seem quite modest given the scope
of the complaints raised in constituencies across the province.
"The Liberals threw a system in place that wreaked havoc on
communities all over B.C.," said Corrigan. "I'm not sure the
band-aid they placed on the system today will be the fix that's
"As more details emerge, we'll see if the changes are too modest to
make a real difference," said Corrigan. "It would really sell our
seniors short if this announcement is more an exercise in
communications than an attempt to make seniors' driving tests fair
NDP Chilliwack-Hope candidate told The Voice in an e-mail
Tuesday that some seniors don't know that the test is actually being
conducted until after the fact.
"It discusses the need for mobile service, which was also raised
during the town hall meeting," wrote O'Mahony. "The COSCO rep said
that people often times are not aware that they are being tested for
cognitive function by their doctor. They go in for one reason and
then find themselves heading to a DriveABLE test. Hopefully issues
of dignity and respect are also being taken into consideration as
the government evaluates DriveABLE. Also, this release doesn't
address the issues with using a computer. Most of the 80 years olds
present at the town hall meeting indicated that they aren't familiar
Corrigan said the loss of a driver's license can be a devastating
loss of independence for many drivers.
"While we support driver testing when there is evidence that a
driver's ability to drive safely has become compromised, we believe
it is imperative to hold both the contractor and the government to
account to ensure the test is a fair and accurate measurement of
drivers' cognitive abilities."
Corrigan said the official opposition and the public have been
asking the Liberals to provide scientific evidence to support
DriveABLE as the best system available. "Either no such evidence
exists, or the Liberals refuse to release it," said Corrigan.
Adrian Dix and the New Democrats have heard the many concerns of
seniors, most recently at a DriveABLE town hall on March 15 where
over 150 people came to discuss their concerns. New Democrats hosted
similar town halls in the Cowichan Valley and the Sunshine Coast
with equally large showings.
Copyright (c) 2012 The Valley Voice