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Aging Drivers

signsIn Ontario, no one loses their license based solely on their age.  Age alone is not an indicator of driving ability or skill. However, as people age, everyone experiences physical, mental and sensory changes that can decrease awareness of surroundings, limit ability to react fast enough, and decrease concentration. These changes take place at different times and rates between individuals, therefore, no maximum age limit for people to drive has been set.

Mature driver refresher courses are available to help older drivers stay safe and driving longer.  

If you're still wondering whether it is safe for you to be driving, ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I experiencing an increasing number of near collisions?Safe Driver
  • Have I been directly involved in minor collisions?
  • Do I have difficulty driving through intersections, judging distance, or seeing pedestrians, road signs, or other vehicles?
  • Do i have difficulty concentrating while driving?
  • Do I get lost or disoriented on familiar roads?
  • Do I have difficulty co-ordinating hand and foot movements?
  • Am I experiencing vision problems, especially at night?
  • Do I get nervous behind the wheel?
  • Do other motorists frequently honk at me?
  • Do family members express concern about my driving ability?
  • Am I taking a medication that can affect my vision, concentration, alertness, hearing or reaction?
  • Am I experiencing frequent, chronic or severe pain?
  • Am I depressed or experiencing episodes of intense emotion?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should consider modifying the time of day you drive, reduce your driving or stop driving altogether. You should discuss these options with a family member you trust or your doctor.

Consider Transportation Alternatives 

  • Public Transportation
  • Friends and family members who drive
  • Keep your vehicle and have others drive for you (volunteer driver programs)
  • Schedule or call to request van or bus pick up
  • Taxi
  • Community access bus or vans
  • Active transportation (walking or riding a bike)

Collision Involvement Program for Older Drivers

The Ministry of Transportation has a Collision Involvement program specifically for drivers aged 70 and older who have been in a collision and were then charged and convicted with a traffic offence.

80+ License Renewal

All licensed drivers are required to renew their license by their 80th birthday and every 2 years after that.

Tips for Helping Someone You Love  

  • Be prepared for a negative reaction. Consider the decrease in independence this decision can lead to.
  • Speak up as soon as you feel there is reason for concern. Postponing this discussion will only endanger the lives of those on the road, including themselves.
  • Bring up the discussion more than once, discussing it before it is a dangerous problem gives them more time to consider the alternative transportation options.
  • Discuss your concern with close family members and your doctor to decide who the best person to have this discussion is. Make sure you choose someone who is trusted and respected by the senior.
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