Question of elderly driver retesting brings mixed responses from all ages

By Cody McEachern

March 9, 2016

Merlene Egle always loved driving, but she can’t do it anymore.

The 67-year-old is scared to drive; health issues have restricted her mobility.

Egle is part of the baby boomer generation. Born between 1946 and 1964, boomers accounted for 9.6 million Canadians in the 2011 census, about 29 per cent of the population.

As they age, its oldest members celebrate their seventieth birthday this year, some question whether older drivers should be retested for their driver’s licence.

Yes, said Egle.

“I think we should retest drivers over 75. I am 67 and I no longer drive because I don’t have the speedy reaction I used to.”

Melissa Clow is Egle’s daughter. She drives her where she needs to go.

The 38-year-old agrees with Egle, but retesting should be done earlier, said Clow.

“We should retest at the age of 65. That is the age when most people deal with health issues and lose a lot of their mobility.”

Not everyone agrees.

Cody McAllister is a 23-year-old Charlottetown resident. Retesting is not necessary and the choice to stop driving should be left to the driver, he said

“I think people are capable of figuring out if they can continue driving or not.”

Corinne McQuillan disagrees. Most older people are stuck in their ways. There should be retesting, but it shouldn’t be done just once, she said.

“Drivers 50 and older should be retested every 10 years. It keeps older drivers up-to-date on laws that may have changed since they were younger.”

Scott Ferguson favours regular testing for all drivers.

The 23-year-old automotive student travels from Charlottetown to Summerside and back every day. He has seen his far share of bad drivers, not all of them were older drivers.

“I think we should retest everyone every 20 years. It’s only a short drive with someone and keeps everyone up-to-date.”

Stephen Henderson agrees, but retesting should be done more often, he said.

The 23-year-old mechanic has had quite a few close calls on his motorcycle with drivers of all ages, so he wants frequent retesting done to better educate bad drivers.

“Honestly, I think we should be retested every five years. It’s excessive, but I’ve almost been hit by too many bad drivers.”