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Senior driving issues overview

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Challenging the Simard MD

Renewing your driving license

driving-overview

In Alberta, the legal requirement to have one’s license renewed is that:
1. a physician carries out a physical exam on the senior who wishes to have his license renewed
2. the physician sign the Medical Examination For Motor Vehicle Operators Form which certifies that on the noted date, he examined the senior in accordance with Safety Code Medical Standards.
3. If the physician does not recommend a driver’s examination, (section B) then the applicant senior has met the full requirement to have his Alberta Driving License renewed. He/she can go to the Registry & obtain his/her license.

Seniors, who attend at a physician’s office requesting a physical exam, in order to renew their driving license, are not sick persons requiring medical care. They are individuals, who have come because of a government edict, which directs that seniors must undergo a physical exam in order to renew their driving license.

This edict exists, despite the fact that according to Alberta statistics, seniors are the safest drivers on Alberta roads. It is well known they have the lowest casualty rates.

This edict also incurs a significant cost to taxpayers. Every time a physician administers a physical examination and if they also administer a Simard MD test, the physician may bill Alberta Health Services in excess of $200.00.

However, some physicians regularly test the cognitive status of their clients. They subject all clients, who are driver license applicants, to the Simard MD test, although we are told ad nauseum that simard MD testing is intended only for those who are medically at risk.

We have been advised by academics who are familiar with the Simard MD that this testing sets up the senior for failure, not only by the nature of the questions but also by the way the test is scored. The almost guaranteed failure then results in the senior being directed to the $250.+ GST, DriveABLE
computer test.

The DriveABLE test is sponsored by a private for profit enterprise, the DriveABLE Assessment Corp. inc. Every time a senior is processed through DriveABLE, it is registered at their central office & DriveABLE Assessment Corp. Inc. gets paid, like going through a turnstyle.
The company also sells its software as franchises to hospitals, driving schools and some independent businesses.

DriveABLE Assessment Corp. Inc. is a product of Alberta Deal Generator, the largest investor network in Canada which represents over $400 million in available capital.

A $1-million investment into Edmonton-based DriveABLE Assessment Centres made by Foundation Equity Corporation in 2005, an angel capital group based in St. Albert, AB. is touted in 2013 by Alberta Deal Generator as one of four, top lucrative investments.

Previously, this matter of senior testing was totally hidden because seniors are humiliated and too chagrined to admit failure. However, when we posted this matter on our website, this matter has become public, we are now receiving complaints on an almost daily basis, usually from outraged family members who obviously believe that their family member has the ability to safely operate a vehicle.

In 2011, random testing of high profile citizens, all actively employed, was carried out in one Alberta community. All except two failed the Simard MD, including an Alberta MLA, a sitting Cabinet Minister.

Would anyone suggest that these individuals are not fit to drive? Of course not, that would be absurd. However when a senior fails the Simard MD test, they are deemed to be cognitively impaired, not only by the attending physician but also by Driver Fitness & Monitoring of Alberta Transportation. They may be immediately told, that they are not safe to drive home from the doctor’s office.

One man had set out on a holiday after being subjected to the Simard MD test. He pulled a 27 foot fifth-wheel traveling across a neighboring province. A year before, the fifth wheel in tow, he had traveled across Canada through major cities such as Montreal, Ottawa & Toronto and through the Maritimes.

When he returned from the holiday, 39 days later, he was called into the doctor’s office. The Doctor casually informed him that he had failed the Simard MD, must report for a DriveABLE test and was not to drive home that day. Furthermore, without his permission or even knowledge, the Doctor had published all his private health information and other private information to the private for profit DriveABLE Assessment Centre. It took this man long months to prove to Driver Fitness & Monitoring of Alberta Transportation that he was competent and fit to drive a vehicle. & reobtain his license to drive.

We can name senior individuals who though they had a job and needed to drive to work, were told by their physician that they could no longer drive until they passed a DriveABLE test.

We can name individuals, who after months of unspeakable anguish, sleepless nights, extensive, expensive psychological testing, hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars, all at their own expense, were able to prove to the satisfaction of Driver Fitness & monitoring of Alberta Transportation, that they are cognitively intact and thus regained their right to drive.

We can name individuals who failed both tests but easily passed a road test. Some determined seniors have paid $500. + GST to take the DriveABLE test twice and failed, demanded a road test which they passed without difficulty.
On July 10/12, Driver Fitness and Monitoring, Ministry of Transportation, informed us that Alberta Transportation does not “require individuals complete a Simard MD or DriveAble assessment for an Operator’s License.”

However prior to that time, we have documentation that their personnel were demanding Alberta senior citizens to take the DriveABLE test. One man received three letters from Driver Fitness and Monitoring demanding that he take the DriveAbLE test. One letter signed by a Reviewing Officer stated:
* “in addition, successfully pass the DriveABLE Assessment”*

The DriveABLE Assessment Center also phoned this man’s home three times, demanding that he attend for the computer test. It took that man from March until September and finally a driving test, to regain his right to drive.

Seniors tell us that they hardly arrive home from the doctor’s office & DriveABLE personnel are already on the phone instructing them to set up an appointment. One senior lady told us that she was called six times by an Edmonton DriveABLE Assessment Centre. When finally in exasperation she told the caller that she had no money for the $250.00 fee, she was told that she would lose her license.

Former Transport Ministers, the Honourable Mr. Luke Ouellette and the Honourable Mr. Ray Danyuk have assured us: “that the tool (Simard MD) has been validated against actual driving”.

Bonnie Dobbs, in her presentation, has stated a number of times that “a cognitively intact person can pass the Simard MD test easily”. Many would challenge the veracity of that statement.

For example, one man who failed the Simard MD, according to his Granddaughter failed because he could not name enough vegetables & fruits to pass the test. The reality is, he took Grandma shopping but never went inside the store. There appears to be little correlation between the testing & ability to drive. We submit that the Simard MD & DriveABLE tests are unreliable determinants of fitness to drive.

In December 2009, a physician instructed his primary care nurse to call in all 70 year olds to his office and subject them to the Simard MD. Individuals who failed were immediately referred to the DriveABLE test. One individual objected and this is how we became aware of this matter of processing seniors. No therapeutic intent was apparent, seniors were simply being processed like cattle through an abattoir.

This begs the question, why would anyone, especially a professional doctor, carry out such a bizarre protocol if he did not have a vested interest in referring persons to the $250.00 DriveABLE test?

These products, which allegedly test cognition, have been promoted under the guise of research, science & safety.

Seniors must fearlessly say NO to all cognitive testing. In doctor’s offices, hospitals, private homes, wherever, say NO.

Finally, one must ask, how can a product which was developed at the University of Alberta at taxpayer expense, now be used by the developer in private enterprise? This matter cries out for a public Inquiry.

We allege this to be a massive, sophisticated, multi-million dollar scam perpetrated against the older citizens of this province by government & private interests. Unfortunately some physicians have bought into this corrupt protocol.

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