Kootenay Lake driver gets licence back after losing it through DriveAble testing

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To the Editor:

My last letter on DriveAble tests appeared when I was already into the second round of tests. So, I again had the tests in the doctor’s office, and later the computer and the road tests in Cranbrook; these are payable in advance to the Insight Driving Solutions in Vancouver ($420). Seven weeks later, I got the announcement from the Office of Superintendent of the Motor Vehicles (OSMV) that I failed; however, if I wanted to pursue this further, I should take their letter to my doctor, and if he could show improvement in my medical condition they would review my case. The word “medical” does not necessarily refer to the driver’s health; it’s just a word they habitually use along with DriveAble testing system.

My doctor did write a letter to the OSMV, and because of his letter and my complaints, the answer was, thank you very much, good news. It said, in part, “Having reviewed your case as a whole, I have decided to offer you an ICBC road test re-examination, which will assess your functional ability to drive safely. The road test would be conducted in your own vehicle.” At the end of November 2013 I did this on Creston roads — and passed. After one year of continuous stress, and spending over $1,000 on the project, I got my driver’s licence back for two years, but next fall I will have to have another “routine medical”.

Meantime, I also looked at the letter by Deputy Supt. of Motor Vehicles Stephanie Melvin. She wrote, “We have worked with the province’s physician colleges to ensure doctors refer patients with possible cognitive impairment to the OSMV.” We know of this, but a little differently; that is, we know that government is pressuring BC Medical Association to make doctors comply. We also know that some doctors are overly eager about it, they see “cognitive” impairment everywhere and some don’t want any involvement with the dubious DriveAble tests that come across more like a money-making scheme than anything else. They have been widely condemned, including by the federal CanDrive research team in Ottawa, as something poorly conceived that should never be in public domain.

In B.C., they are supported by the ruling party that originally imported them from Edmonton, Alta. But sooner or later they too will have to recognize that supporting something unsupportable is not smart. According to DriveAble itself, the tests are passed only by a very small percentage of drivers involved; the rest are rejected outright or left in a limbo of indeterminants. Most of these probably could not put up with the stress, and never got their licence back.

Melvin added, “The combined results of the in-office assessment, on-road evaluation and the driver’s medical information allow us to make fair decisions about the driver’s ability to continue driving safely.” That would be just great if it were true, but it is not true. The way the tests are put together and the way they are administered guarantees failure of over 85 per cent of participants; this ratio is very important for DriveAble company and its shareholders. Without the high rate of failure, it would soon be out of business — it is as simple as that.

I am sure Ms. Melvin means well, but maybe it is time she had another look and see that all training and testing of young and old drivers can be done through the existing setup of the ICBC, without the dishonest, mean and costly DriveAble.

Anton Skerbinc