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BC Government rolls out Enhanced Road Assessment program in spring of 2018

Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall, seen here at the Balfour Seniors Strawberry Social, said the ERA will be more accessible to seniors living in rural areas like ours. — Submitted photo

The BC Government is rolling out a new road assessment program that will benefit rural seniors said Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall in a media release.

Beginning in March 2018, Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) will deliver the new enhanced road assessment (ERA) to drivers who need to have their medical fitness to drive safely assessed.

Mungall said this new assessment will replace both the DriveABLE cognitive assessment and the ICBC re-examination currently used for drivers with medical conditions.

“The ERA will be more accessible to seniors living in rural areas like ours," Mungall explained.

"By removing the cognitive computer test component and making the road test longer it will actually test a driver’s cognitive ability behind the wheel not their competency with a computer."

“These changes represent a major improvement from the past system and will make the processes much less stressful for those seniors required to undertake a road test,” Mungall added.

This new approach will:

  • Extend the current ICBC re-examination to 90 minutes from 75 minutes, incorporating new components to assess driving errors that may result from cognitive impairment and other areas of medical concern.
  • Eliminate the in-office, computer-based screening that’s currently part of the DriveABLE assessment, which many drivers have said adds unnecessary complexity and stress.
  • Instead, ICBC driver examiners will gradually increase the complexity of driving tasks, provide a break and feedback midway through, and have clear parameters for ending an assessment early if necessary, all to help maximize safety in real-world driving conditions.
  • Let drivers use their own vehicles, as many drivers have said that having to operate an unfamiliar vehicle affects their on-road assessment results.
  • Improve access and convenience, with approximately 70 ICBC locations delivering the ERA provincewide.

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said the new assessment puts the focus more sharply on whether someone is still safe to drive their vehicle.

“The new process is the result of consulting experts and looking at many options, including what other jurisdictions are doing, so drivers can be confident that others around them are qualified to be at the wheel,” Farnworth said.

There will be no cost to drivers required to take an ERA.

Quick Facts:

  • RoadSafetyBC may require that a driver complete a road assessment as part of the process of making a driver medical fitness determination.
  • Some of the most common reasons for a road assessment are a doctor’s report concerning a medical condition that may affect a person’s ability to drive safely, a police or collision report indicating a possible medical concern, or the results of a previous assessment suggesting follow-up assessments are needed.
  • RoadSafetyBC evaluated the driver fitness of more than 170,000 people in 2016, of whom approximately 3,000 completed an ICBC re-examination and 1,000 completed a DriveABLE cognitive assessment.
  • DriveABLE involves two components: an in-office assessment performed on a touchsensitive screen, and an on-road evaluation. The ERA will eliminate the former and generate detailed reports that will help RoadSafetyBC make informed licensing decisions.
  • While RoadSafetyBC oversees driving privileges, ICBC has the examiners and infrastructure to conduct driver testing in British Columbia.