Re: Think of seniors in transit plans, Our View, July 6, 2011.
Bravo! Thank you for so accurately expressing the problems facing seniors when their driving privileges are withdrawn.
One year ago, just before my 80th birthday, I attended an appointment with my doctor to complete the form sent by the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles (OSMV).
After the usual physical tests, the doctor suddenly presented me with a cognitive assessment test. This was given without any explanation as to its purpose.
I failed it by a small margin, which prompted the doctor to write on my OSMV sheet that I was cognitively impaired and had memory loss. I was also required to pay $75 for this interview.
After my birthday came and went I began to get a series of form letters from the OSMV. These letters were uninformative (I was told to contact something called DriveAble, but no information was given as to how to do this), vaguely menacing, in one case, and demeaning. One of the letters stated that I would be considered “a public menace” if I did not hand in my licence.
I did take the DriveAble computer touch test and eventually, the road test‚ the latter taken in a car and in pouring rain. Never was I informed of whatever mistakes I might have made. The OSMV cancelled my licence while I was on holiday.
This whole situation so enraged me that I felt that my health was being compromised.
The past year has “trained” me to use public transportation. It is not easy for one accustomed to being independent to take three to four times longer to get to most destinations, using at least two buses and frequently having to wait 15 to 20 minutes between buses. It is not easy to have to ask relatives and friends to cart me around. And bus fares are increasing.
To be fair, I did not particularly like driving anymore and was preparing myself to surrender my licence by driving at off-peak periods, only in daytime and only when necessary.
My apartment faces Shelbourne Street and in the last five or six years, this street has become a freeway for rapidly moving cars. The dirt and noise of traffic continues unabated until 3 a.m.
I have recommendations to make to the powers that be:
1. Reduce the number of vehicles on the roads.
2. Test all drivers at regular intervals.
3. The OSMV should treat people as individuals, not digits, and should be more careful with their communications.