VICTORIA - Government is opening nine more locations for DriveABLE, helping to reduce travel for those drivers, including seniors, who are referred to take the functional cognitive assessment.
The number of locations has grown to 28 from 15 in 2011, with new locations just added in Campbell River, Duncan, Penticton, Port Alberni, Powell River, Salmon Arm, Terrace, Vernon and Williams Lake. Earlier this year, DriveABLE service centres opened in Chilliwack, Cranbrook, North Vancouver and Richmond.
The majority of referrals to DriveABLE by the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles (OSMV) stem from reports to OSMV from medical practitioners who are concerned about an individual's cognitive abilities related to safe driving. In 2011, OSMV reviewed 140,000 driver medical examination reports, requiring about 2,700 or two per cent of those drivers to undertake the assessment. Government covers the cost of both the in-office and on-road assessments for all drivers it refers.
DriveABLE assessments in Penticton, Powell River, Salmon Arm, Terrace, Vernon and Williams Lake will be based out of the local Service BC office. Government will monitor client levels at all locations to assess how best to provide accessible, cost-effective assessments going forward - particularly in northern and Interior communities that have traditionally had very few DriveABLE clients.
The 28 communities that now have DriveABLE locations are: Abbotsford, Burnaby, Campbell River, Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Courtenay, Cranbrook, Dawson Creek, Duncan, Kamloops, Kelowna, Langford, Nanaimo, Nelson, North Vancouver, Penticton, Port Alberni, Powell River, Prince George, Richmond, Salmon Arm, Sechelt, Surrey, Terrace, Vancouver, Vernon, Victoria and Williams Lake.
Further to the improvements made to the existing DriveABLE cognitive assessment service, government also posted today a Request for Expressions of Interest seeking qualified vendors interested in delivering functional driver cognitive assessment services in the future. This will provide suppliers of cognitive assessment services with the opportunity to come forward and express interest in the contracting for this crucial public safety service. The goal of this process, which closes Wednesday, Nov. 7, is to ensure the best value for taxpayers.
Shirley Bond, Minister of Justice and Attorney General -
"We have listened carefully to the concerns expressed by seniors and their families and have added 13 new DriveABLE locations since the beginning of the year. We have also worked closely with seniors organizations to find ways to minimize the stress that some seniors experience throughout the process."
"While a very small number of seniors actually require the driveable assessment, we will continue to look for ways to improve service, expand locations and provide information to families when a cognitive assessment is required."
Ralph Sultan, Minister of State for Seniors -
"I can fully understand what seniors go through regarding driving and independence. When I turn 80 next June, I too will receive a letter from the superintendent of motor vehicles and will be told to go to my doctor, who will determine if there are concerns around my ability to drive safely. This I will do willingly in case I am one of the small percentage of drivers my doctor determines needs to be assessed. I am required to do this and will do this to protect my family, the public and myself. So, today's announcement of more DriveABLE locations will give seniors more options in rural and remote areas to be assessed closer to home."
Lorraine Logan, second vice-president and chair of transportation committee, Council of Senior Citizens Organizations of British Columbia -
"We've made our concerns about DriveABLE very clear, and we're encouraged by government's response to date. Certainly the addition of more assessment locations will help to address one of COSCO's major concerns. We will continue to work with the government on any further opportunities for improvement that are raised by our member organizations and seniors themselves."
- DriveABLE assessments are distinct from the driver medical examination reports that all drivers must complete with their medical practitioner at age 80 and every two years thereafter.
- Of 140,000 driver medical examination reports reviewed by OSMV in 2011, only about 2,700 drivers, or about two per cent, were referred for a DriveABLE cognitive assessment. These figures are up from 130,000 driver medical and 1,500 DriveABLE assessments in 2010.
- The Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles only refers drivers with cognitive function concerns, as reported in most cases by their physician, to take a DriveABLE assessment.
The Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles' DriveABLE page is at: www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/osmv/driveable
The Request for Expressions of Interest in providing DriveABLE services is posted at: www.bcbid.gov.bc.ca
A backgrounder follows.
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Justice
DriveABLE assessments and access enhanced
In addition to opening 13 more locations this year for DriveABLE cognitive assessments, government has responded to other concerns expressed by drivers about the assessment process and how the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles (OSMV) weighs the results. Improvements to the program over the past year include:
- A new process that allows companions to accompany clients taking a DriveABLE assessment, meet the assessor, observe the practice time and ask questions.
- A longer assessment time. Scheduling 90 minutes per assessment - up from 60 previously - allows time for questions and practice, reducing the likelihood that clients will experience anxiety or stress from feeling rushed.
- More comprehensive assessment. All clients referred for a DriveABLE assessment now have the opportunity to take an on-road evaluation, if they do not pass the in-office assessment. In turn, OSMV now bases its licensing decisions about drivers with suspected cognitive impairments on medical reports, their in-office assessment and (if taken) their on-road evaluation.
- A new, toll-free telephone number that allows one-click transfer of DriveABLE clients' calls to dedicated staff who can answer their questions about driver medical fitness services.
- A new, client-focused referral letter, developed in consultation with the Council of Senior Citizens' Organizations of B.C., is being implemented. This letter will accompany and explain the purpose of driver medical examination reports that drivers receive at age 80 and every two years thereafter.
- A new DriveABLE information guide sent to all clients referred for a DriveABLE assessment.
- A new, comprehensive DriveABLE section on OSMV's website. This includes an interactive map of locations, embedded public education videos, frequently asked questions and links to new resources.
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Justice