The new year will bring changes to how drivers are re-examined to insure that they are safe to continue to drive. Current DriveABLE testing will be replaced by an Enhanced Road Assessment (ERA) that will be administered by ICBC at no cost. The ERA has been developed by RoadSafetyBC after surveying driver re-testing in other jurisdictions and is aimed at providing greater transparency for participants.
DriveABLE has been providing both computer based and in car testing under contract with the province to identify cognitively impaired drivers. That contract expires at the end of February 2018 and will not be renewed. Effective at the beginning of January 2018, referrals for re-examination will be made for the ERA rather than DriveABLE.
The ERA is designed as an assessment which provides RoadSafetyBC with comprehensive information, rather than a road test that is either passed or failed. It will be conducted by ICBC Driver Examiners in the participant's own vehicle at the ICBC location nearest to their home. There will be no computer based testing.
Some of the most common reasons for an ERA are:
- A doctor reports a medical condition that may affect a person’s fitness or ability to drive safely
- Results of a previous on-road assessment suggest a follow-up is necessary
- A collision report, police report or other report indicates a driver may be unable or unsure how to handle a common driving situation
The duration of the ERA will be approximately 90 minutes in total. It will consist of a pre-test check of the participant and their vehicle, two periods of driving totaling 45 minutes, a five minute break for feedback between driving sessions and a post-trip review.
Drivers will be asked to complete basic driving maneuvers, show that they can properly adjust and use vehicle controls, follow multi-step directions and reverse a driving route. To reverse a route, drivers will be asked to drive a few blocks from a location and then return to the starting point following that same route in reverse.
Depending on the outcome of the ERA, the driver will either return their driver's license or retain it and issue a learner's drivers's licence (LDL).
The issue of an LDL will result when a driver commits a traffic violation or takes a dangerous action during the ERA. Having an LDL now means that the driver will need a supervisor in order to drive. That supervisor must be age 25 or older and hold a valid driver's licence.
Only in rare cases will the driver's licence be cancelled at the end of an ERA.
The results of the ERA will be forwarded to RoadSafetyBC by ICBC where it will be considered along with all the other information in the driver's file. The result will be a final decision on whether to maintain, re-issue or cancel the driver's licence. That decision will be explained to the driver, in writing, by RoadSafetyBC.
RoadSafetyBC may consider imposing restrictions on a driver's licence. The restrictions are to insure that the driver can safely operate their vehicle within their ability.
Suggestions in preparation for an ERA include honest self assessment, constructive criticism from family or a friend, reading both Learn to Drive Smart and Tuning Up for Drivers, as well as taking a refesher with a driving school.
If a driver decides not to take the ERA, they may retire from driving by exchanging their driver's licence for a British Columbia Identification Card (BCID).
What if a driver does not own a vehicle? Will a vehicle be supplied? Or do they have to get a suitable vehicle for the testing?
It's always been expected by whoever is the licensing authority at the time, that a license applicant would provide the vehicle, for any class of license, and this was the case from long before ICBC became that licensing authority. Generally speaking, a family car, Driving School car, or vehicle provided by a prospective employer (read the fine print if it's a rental vehicle as it may be refused).
In the case of the ERA, although it's a RSBC initiative and designed to replace the DriveABLE model, they're using ICBC Driver Examiners based out of ICBC offices - and so they don't have any cars available for this purpose, to the best of my knowledge.
I doubt this will be an issue - few seniors who don't actually own a vehicle have the motivation to maintain their driver license, I would have thought; if they need BCID they can get it for free by handing over their driver license.
From the news about this Enhanced Road Assessment that I've been following, a couple of things stand out.
For one thing, although the assessment (like 'evaluation', a term that manages to avoid using the Pass/Fail determination) will be conducted by an ICBC Driver Examiner, the end result will be completed by another party - probably some expert from RSBC in Victoria who is conversant with the design of the ERA and how to determine the appropriate outcome.
This is the same kind of process that DriveABLE use, so no essential difference there, except that (unless they're totally dangerous to themselves and other road users) the Applicant will get to leave with some kind of valid driver license in their pocket - however long they may get to keep it.
Notably, though, should the Applicant commit a Dangerous Action or Traffic Violation (examining terminology that has long been used by our licensing authorities) then the license they leave with will be a Class 5 Learner License, subject to the inherent conditions and restrictions - notably, the requirement that they be accompanied when behind the wheel by a suitably licensed driver in the front passenger seat; so the smart thing to do if you don't want to use a tow truck to get your vehicle home would be to have a suitable friend or relative along with you.
As for the terminology? Basically, a Dangerous Action has occurred either when the DE takes control - verbal or physical or another road user takes evasive action to prevent a collision.
If ICBC WOULD APPLY THAT VERY FIRST SENTENCE, to EVERYONE, especially class 1, it would be a lot safer place.
i think their time would be much better spent on retesting, than dealing with accident claims. (Accidents DO happen, but usually due to driver error)
so we have a graduated system for a learners and 5, but anybody with 1200 bucks and 5 days of free time can haul super b trains through the mountains.
Dont get me started.
- 180,000 medical exams for drivers of all ages were requested
- 66,000 of those were aged 80+
- 4,800 were referred for the ERA
- 1,150 did not respond
- 200 turned in their licence
- 3,450 drivers took the ERA
- 2,070 passed
- 860 failed
- 520 tried again
It would appear that 60% of those who took the ERA passed. That's a better percentage than Class 7 Learner Applicants, for instance.
This is quite an improvement, compared to C5 Re-Examinations or DriveABLE evaluations.