Feb 21, 2013

By Jane Brown

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It’s being called unfair targeting of older people by CARP, a new vision of aging.  Police in Sudbury, Ontario are urging residents to anonymously report elderly motorists they feel are no longer fit to drive.  The program is called “The North East Dementia Network Coalition Safe Driving Task Force.”  It was started last month with tips funneled through Crime Stoppers.  A plainclothes officer is then sent to the motorist’s home to discuss the call and provide follow-up.

CARP’s Vice President of Advocacy, Susan Eng, calls this a huge infringement on the rights of older drivers.  She says, “if someone is really erratic, sure, rat them out.  But that’s not what’s happening here.  Instead, older people are being targeted.”  Eng says, “authorities can use professional means such as road tests to evaluate a motorists’ ability to drive, rather than depending on, say, family members who use arbitrary measures to second-guess their faculties.”

According to Patricia Douglas, chair of the Sudbury chapter of CARP, three people have been investigated since the task force’s creation a month ago.  Two agreed it was time to give up driving.  The third has agreed to a provincial driving test.

Transport Canada says there are roughly 2.8 million drivers in Canada over the age of 65.  Nearly 15 percent of drivers killed in a traffic accident are seniors, while those under the age of 24 account for roughly 23 percent.


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