"Rise in the presence of the aged, and show respect for the elderly."



Number of seniors driving commercial vehicles increasing.

FREDERICTON — A researcher at the University of New Brunswick says the number of seniors getting into the commercial driving industry is rising.

Eric Hildebrand says seniors currently represent about 14 per cent of New Brunswick’s general driving population and within the next couple of decades that’s going to increase to a full one-quarter.

“That’s going to be a huge shift and it’s something that’s going to need to be accommodated from a policy perspective, from an engineering perspective, from a vehicle design perspective and so on,” Hildebrand said.

• Senior drivers strive to stay on the road
“It’s something that we need to understand because it’s coming and it’s coming quite quickly.”.

“There has been a shortage of drivers, particularly tractor-trailer drivers, and with pensions in the kind of shape they’re in and so on, we are starting to see more seniors either get into these fields or stay in them longer,” Hildebrand said.

But Leonard LeBlanc, president of the New Brunswick Senior’s Federation said he’s not worried about seniors driving commercial vehicles.
“They have to have a medical every year or so and if they don’t pass a physical they don’t get their licence. It’s as simple as that,” LeBlanc said.

New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board did away with the mandatory retirement age of 65, February 2010.

A February 2010 decision by the New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board did away with the mandatory retirement age of 65 for school bus drivers in the province, resulting in a wave of seniors taking up the job.
Brien Watson, president of CUPE Local 1253 — representing school bus drivers in New Brunswick – said the annual testing protocol for drivers over the age of 60 is quite stringent.
“You have to have a medical from your doctor, your eye exam, a written test, inspection of your bus and road test,” he said.

Right now, the oldest school bus driver in the province is 73.
“The public doesn’t have to worry about drivers over 60 years old. They are out there now and they’re doing a good job,” Watson said.
Amanda Dean, vice-president Atlantic with the Insurance Bureau of Canada, said someone’s medical condition and driving history are bigger factors than age for the insurance industry.
“A driver of any age, if you’re starting to have more collisions or more and more
infractions, maybe it’s time to have the discussion about testing or to see if there’s a temporary impairment such as medication for a certain condition,” she said.
Dean said that in many cases, older drivers can have lower collision rates than anyone else.
Adapted Canadian Press 07/22/15