Drivers of any age may be referred to ERA
Re: “Enhanced Road Assessment discriminative to seniors”, (Citizen, April 18)
We wanted to take this opportunity to respond to Mr. Woodruff’s letter about B.C.’s Enhanced Road Assessment (ERA) program, which was announced by government back in November: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2017PSSG0076-001986
We very much understand that being asked to take a road assessment can be frustrating and stressful for drivers, especially for those who have driven for many years. However, we believe the new ERA will be a much improved and fairer process for those who do need a road assessment.
It’s important to emphasize that ICBC does not determine which drivers need to take an assessment — that responsibility rests with RoadSafetyBC — but ICBC supports this process as we have the examiners and infrastructure to conduct on-road assessments in British Columbia.
Some of the most common reasons for a road assessment are a doctor’s report concerning a medical condition that may affect a person’s ability to drive safely, a police or collision report indicating a possible medical concern, or the results of a previous assessment suggesting follow-ups are needed. The assessment does not become mandatory once a driver reaches a certain age and drivers of any age may be referred to the ERA. However, we are all susceptible to developing increased health issues as we age.
The new ERA will be more accessible, with approximately 70 ICBC locations delivering it province-wide at no cost to the driver, and less stressful. The ERA eliminates the in-office, computer-based screening DriveAble test which many drivers had said added unnecessary complexity and stress and placed too much of a focus on cognitive ability. Drivers are also now able to use their own vehicles which should help to make them more comfortable, as many drivers had said that having to operate an unfamiliar vehicle affected their on-road assessment results.
The ERA is not a test that can be passed or failed; it assesses driving skills and behaviours in a real-world driving environment, where a driver must self-navigate and adapt to changes. The results, along with all other relevant information in a driver’s file, are reviewed by RoadSafetyBC who will ultimately make informed licensing decisions.
The new ERA process is the result of consulting with experts and looking at many options, including what other jurisdictions are doing, and will help to improve road safety in our province. The ERA has also received the support of seniors’ advocates and organizations.
We hope this letter has addressed some of Mr. Woodruff’s concerns and we encourage him to learn more about the new ERA on RoadSafetyBC’s website.
Lee Olley, director,
ICBC Driver Licensing Customer Services