Keremeos resident Stan Bubar lost his drivers license recently, and he’s protesting a system he says hasn’t explained to his satisfaction the reasons why.
“They’ve been doing this to me for a year,” he said.
I’m a good driver. I’ve only received two tickets – one that I got last year for driving too slow. I took that one to court and beat it.
“I think that’s why they are taking my license away.”
Bubar, who is 84 years old, has been driving for 68 years. His doctor referred him to the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles in April for cognitive testing through what is known as a DriveABLE evaluation, which consisted of an in-office session and a physical drivers test, at which Bubar asked whether he was going to pass or not. He was told “not likely.”
“I believe in the system – if you can’t see, and can’t walk, well you shouldn’t be driving,” he said.
“I can’t tell why they pulled it – it looks to me like they think I’m soft in the head,” he answered when asked what reason was given for revoking his license. Bubar is angry at his doctor for insisting he take the tests. He claims he went back to the doctor to see if there was any improvement in his condition, saying, “He didnt’t have the nerve to tell me I was soft in the head.”
I know some people in town who have been tested,” Bubar said, “and they passed.
“I didn’t and I don’t know why.”
Bubar was referred to DriveABLE, an assessment used by RoadSafety BC to help determine if drivers with a suspected cognitive impairment are safe to continue driving.
DriveABLE is a research‐based, scientific assessment tool which is used across North America to measure how well drivers remember, reason, and react – functions considered essential for safe driving.
The assessment is not given to drivers related to age alone. Cognitive imparement can occur in drivers of any age.
“It is imperative that we all do our part to reduce motor vehicle fatalities and serious injuries on B.C. roads. This means that citizens of all ages need to be conscientious about their medical fitness to drive. Age is not indicative of driver behavior or competence; however, the presence of a medical condition, or certain medications, can significantly affect an individual’s safe driving ability.
“Under the Motor Vehicle Act, my office is responsible for determining an individual’s fitness to drive, for the safety of both the driver and the public. We know that health problems tend to manifest themselves, or become more prevalent as we age which is why, beginning at age 80 and every two years thereafter, drivers must be assessed by their doctor and submit a medical report to RoadSafetyBC,” said Sam MacLeod, Superintendent of Motor Vehicles.
Drivers are most often referred to the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles by their physician (89 per cent of the time) and other times by a police officer or family member.
It was recognized in 2012 that seniors in particular may feel anxious about being assessed, so the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles worked with the Counsel of Senior Citizens’ Organizations to enhance the DriveABLE program and include more supports for seniors. More time is now given to complete an in-office assessment, and people may bring a companion who can meet the assessor, observe and provide support during the practice time, and ask questions.
A detailed guide to the DriveABLE cognitive assessment process is available online: http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/osmv/shareddocs/infoguide-driveable.pdf
DriveABLE is a global leader in evidence-based assessment technology for the fair and accurate assessment of cognitively at-risk drivers. The tool exists in two forms: DCAT – The DriveABLE Cognitive Assessment Tool; an in-office evaluation, and DORE – The DriveABLE On-Road Evaluation; a behind the wheel assessment that tests drivers on their cognitive ability alone.
Bubar continues to be unhappy about the decision, saying he does nothing now but sit around his house all day.
“How am I supposed to get around to other places?” he asked. “ I used to drive around here just to keep my sanity – now I don’t know if I can keep it.”
The timing of Bubar’s license cancellation was unfortunate, as the day he received notice of the cancellation, his wife died. Three days later his niece died.
He said the action taken by DriveABLE was undemocratic.
“They said I might be a danger to others. How can they turn to you amd make you surrender your license on the possibility you might be a danger?
“They should be cancelling everyone’s license because they might cause an accident. Since when?”
Bubar is concerned about the fact he has never seen anything in the paper about people losing their license through the DriveABLE assessment, feeling there were issues that needed to be illuminated.
“As far as I can see, my only issue in life in your opinion is that I am old,” he wrote the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles, “I paid the doctor $75 just to have my license taken away, even though the medical says there is no danger of my driving, but you (the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles) has said that I might be a danger to others.”