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AMA Discrimination

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November 7, 2014

Mr. Don Smitten, President & CEO
Alberta Motor Association (AMA)
11220 109 St,
Edmonton, AB T5G 2T6

Dear Mr. Smitten:

Promoting ageism (discrimination against individuals because of age)

Thank you for your correspondence.

We are gratified to note that you have removed Dr. Bonnie Dobbs, and the promotion of the Simard MD and DriveABLE protocol from the Alberta Motor Association website.

Further to this matter, your Director of Advocacy and Community Services, Don Szarko, affirmed to us at the October Grey Matters Conference 2014, that the concept, perpetrated by Dr. Bonnie Dobbs PhD, that

“a cognitively intact person can easily pass the Simard MD”

is false.

Across the province, senior’s lives have been disrupted by this deceptive, falsehood.

We informed Mr. Szarko, that in many areas, Albertans who have suffered because of this virulent, elder abuse, have had to relocate, move off of family farms, become prisoners in their own homes.They tell us that they, their parents or grandparents fled the Ukraine, Eastern Europe and other parts of the world because of persecution. Now they are being persecuted by their own government and those who purport to be their advocates.

Seniors are not a threat to road safety. Seniors are safe drivers. Seniors self regulate and therefore are not on the radar when it comes to statistics.

Therefore we continue to be deeply dismayed to be informed that AMA is “working closely” with Alberta Health Services and its’ Occupational Therapists in order to develop a new driving assessment protocol to:

“explore new opportunities”.

How frightening.

The corrupt Simard MD & DriveABLE protocol, which widely supported by many professionals, your organization and others, has now been discredited but is still in force and yet you are already planning a further protocol.

At the recent Grey Matters 2014 Conference, your research people continued
to perpetrate misinformation and an ageist agenda.

During the presentation, your researcher, Dr. Charles Scialfa, BSc., MA., PhD again presented the sharp crash curve which has been discredited since February 4, 2014 by researchers (attached).

Moderator: Mr. Don Szarko Panel: Dr. David Hogan MD, FRCPC; Ms. Cynthia Johnson MHS, BScOT, OT(c); Dr. Charles Scialfa, BSc., MA., PhD –
Grey Matters 2014 Conference.
Driving Assessment/Evaluation: The Current Framework and Exploring New Opportunities
Driving is the primary mode of community mobility among seniors in Canada and is associated with well-being and social participation. With the population aging, policy makers, health care providers, and researchers recognize the value in working together to ensure fairness and consistency in evaluating fitness to drive. This panel will share physician, occupational therapist, and traffic safety perspectives on driver assessments and highlight what is being done to educate and encourage families and seniors to plan ahead for the day they will no longer be able to drive.

According to Alberta Transportation statistics, seniors are the safest drivers on Alberta roads, it is documented they have the lowest casualty rates. It is also reality, that they do not cause the carnage on Alberta roads. This is true across Canada.

The fact that seniors are safe drivers, has now been reinforced by the 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. This was published on February 14, 2014 by Joan Lowry of the Associated Press.

Anne McCartt, the United States Insurance Institute for Highway Safety senior vice president and co-author of the study has commented,

“This should help ease fears that aging baby boomers are a safety threat”.

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

Thank you.

We would be grateful to be in receipt of your response by the 17th of November, 2014.

Yours truly,

Elder Advocates Of Alberta Society

Attached: “Older Drivers do not have a high crash risk – a replication of low mileage bias’ – February 4, 2014.

c.c The Honourable Mr. Wayne Drysdale, Minister of Transportation