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Drivesmart column: We want dad to stop driving

If you don’t feel safe riding with this person, it’s probably time to intervene
Tim Schewe

By Tim Schewe

“Help! My father is 87 and has had a minor accident. My sibling and I would like to see him give up his licence and keep him safe, not to mention others. He won’t give it up freely! We don’t want to be disinherited either! Who or what do we contact without him knowing? I have tried the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles, who is no help as they want a report.”

You are right to be concerned. RoadSafetyBC suggests that we are living about 10 years past our ability to drive safely. In 2021 there were about 249,000 licensed drivers in B.C. who were aged 76 or older.

In 2019 RoadSafetyBC referred 4,800 drivers of all ages to ICBC for the Enhanced Road Assessment. A total of 1,150 of them did not respond, 200 surrendered their licence and of the 3,450 drivers who were tested, 860 failed.

If you don’t feel safe riding with this person, it’s probably time to intervene.

You may wish to make your first stop here, at the CAA Quebec website and their publication titled How to Help an Older Driver With Safe Transportation. It’s a PDF document about 4.5 Mb in size that discusses preparation for the eventual surrender of a parent’s drivers licence. There’s lots to think about in it.

You may be surprised to find that it is not time. My neighbour is in her 80s and her daughter was after her to stop driving. She decided on her own to go to one of our local driving schools and have her skills assessed.

The driving instructor told her that she was still driving safely and should keep her licence. This gave her an unbiased second opinion to present to her daughter that hopefully put the daughter’s mind at rest for now.

Yes, RoadSafetyBC requires a formal report of a driving situation where the person complaining is identifiable. If you think about that for a moment, you can easily understand why. If someone that is either misguided or malicious were to report you as unfit, should anonymous complaints be accepted, you would be subject to the expenditure of time and money to show that you were in fact fit to continue driving.

RoadSafetyBC’s website advises that under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, a driver can ask us for a copy of their file which will contain a copy of the report. RoadSafetyBC will consult with the author of an unsolicited report before providing the driver the file.

It is an awkward situation for a son or daughter to be in. I suppose that ultimately it is up to you to try and decide the point where you can no longer live with the risk knowing that you failed to act and your father hurt himself or someone else through the operation of his vehicle.

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement. To comment or learn more, please visit