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Monitoring Alberta’s Safest Drivers

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In a detailed Brief to the Government of Alberta, dated November 25, 2014, we have respectfully asked that Alberta Legislators revisit the Operator Licensing and Vehicle Control Regulation of the Alberta Traffic Safety Act, Alberta Regulation 320/2002 and repeal Section 16[2].

Thus causing to cease the requirement for Albertans to report for medical assessments at the age of seventy five years and thereafter in order to renew their license to drive.

This would not only put to an end to the horrific elder abuse that is being inflicted across the province on many Alberta citizens but, annually  would also save millions of tax payer dollars. According to Alberta Transportation statistics, seniors are the safest drivers on Alberta roads, they have the lowest casualty rates, they do not cause carnage on Alberta roads, they are not a threat to road safety. Seniors self regulate and therefore are not on the radar when it comes to statistics.

The fact that seniors are safe drivers, has now been reinforced by the powerful United States Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. They stated that they were wrong in thinking that an older population would lead to more accidents, just the reverse has happened.

Their study indicates that from 1997 to 2012 fatal crash rates per licensed driver fell 42% for older drivers and 30% for middle-age ones. Looking at vehicle miles travelled, fatal rates fell 39% for older drivers and 26% for middle-age ones from 1995 to 2008. The greatest rate of decline was among drivers age 80 and over, nearly twice that of middle age drivers and drivers 70 to 74. Published February 14, 2014, Joan Lowry of the Associated Press.

Alan Pisarski, author of the authoritative “Commuting in America”  series, who reports on driving trends states that,

”The main point is that these 70-80 year olds are really different than their predecessors.  They learned to drive in a very different era.  They are far more comfortable driving in freeway situations. This matters immensely for the future because we are seeing dramatic increases in older workers staying in the labor force and continuing to work and commute well past 65”.

Unfortunately  there are those who continue to promote the outdated 2001 “high crash risk” data, most notably Dr. Bonnie Dobbs of the MARD Centre, U. of A. and the Alberta Motor Association. On December 6, 2014, Bonnie Dobbs was quoted on “The Homestretch”, CBC radio, ”Starting at the age of 70, seniors become the most dangerous drivers on the road”. That is a blatant untruth. A study dated February 4, 2014.  “OLDER DRIVERS DO NOT HAVE A HIGH CRASH RISK-  A REPLICATION OF LOW MILEAGE BIAS”,  challenges the 2001 data (below).

The study, authors, Langford J, Methorst R, Hakamies-Blomqvist L., found that most drivers aged 75 years and older and above were safer than younger age groups.

In jurisdictions that have rejected compulsory, senior driving assessments, it has been observed that normal ageing does not increase crash risk as older drivers, generally they regulate their own driving and compensate for any gradual decline in driving abilities.

It is deeply troubling that many older Albertans citizens are being treated with derision and disregard, unjustly and unfairly being stripped of rights. It is also as troubling, that millions upon millions of dollars from the public purse are being spent, to mass monitor the safest drivers on Alberta roads.

High crash risk 3

 

Alberta Transportation Statistics

2010 Collision Statistics 2

Drivers-Age-and-Sex

Table-41

Drinking Collision Statistics 3

2001 outdated “high crash risk” data used by MARD Centre U of A

High crash risk 5

 

AP 1 3

AP 2

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